This guest blog post was originally posted 9/29 on Florida Bicycle Association's blog and reprinted here with the writer's permission (Steve Nicks of Bonita Bay Bicycle Club). Kudos to the BBBC for undertaking this project to benefit the Bonita Springs community.
The Do-Good Bike Project
Lyman Philips of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club and Steve Nicks started the “Do-Good Bike Project” to benefit the Bonita Springs Community. They are collecting and refurbishing bicycles no longer in use from owners in the retirement community of Bonita Bay. These bicycles are then donated to any person in the community in need of a bike for transportation or recreation. Steve Nicks wrote the following for local media:
It must have been during a trip to the Reje Universal Supermarket in old Bonita Springs for a half kilo fix of fresh, still warm, white corn Los Arcos tortillas that it dawned on me: many, many people of all ages rely on the humble bicycle for basic transportation. This is not recreational biking; this is biking to get somewhere.
Before moving to Bonita Springs full time, I was deeply involved in two bike projects which received donations of unneeded bikes and, after some care, attention and repair, gave them to people who had a need for a bike, but limited ability to get one.
One was Wheels for Winners in Wisconsin where I volunteered when I first retired. There I learned how to fix bikes as part of a nonprofit that took donated bikes, fixed and refreshed them, then gave them to school age kids who earned a bike with extra school work or community service. At the same time, with the patience of my wife who tolerated bikes and bike parts strewn all over our garage and under our side deck, I spent over 7 years fixing and furnishing about 250 bikes on free loan to University of Wisconsin foreign exchange students. In all, I gave bikes to students from 43 different countries and enjoyed the wonderful experience of being a friend to so many interesting young people.
Back to now. Even though there are lots of bike riders in old Bonita Springs, finding a bike that someone of limited means can afford is problematic. Unlike up north where places like St. Vincent de Paul’s or Goodwill have many donated bikes for sale, here, even though there is a welter of thrift shops, there are almost no used bikes at any of them. I know this first-hand having been dragged by my wife through the seemingly endless array of such shops for reasons that still elude me.
That being said, we have here in Bonita Bay a unique resource to meet this need. Lyman Philips, a member of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club, and myself have initiated a project to benefit the Bonita Springs community. Bikes that are no longer needed, bikes that came along with the purchase of the condo or house, bikes that the grandkids outgrew, bikes that have a repair issue which makes no economic sense to have a bike shop fix, all clutter up many of our garages and storage areas. This bicycle clutter can now be “re-positioned” to those in need with a little effort and good will. That’s the idea behind the “Bonita Bay Do-Good Bike Project”.
The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club has been very helpful with the initial outreach and Joe DuBois of Trek Bicycle Store has been a valuable resource as well. A new bicycle lock goes along with each ‘re-positioned’ bike; even the cost of a decent lock is daunting to some in this target group.
Why is this article here? Well, the project needs more donated bikes. Do you live in the Bonita Springs area and have a bike or two that could be ‘re-positioned’ for good use? If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right now this project is at the “it keeps the old guys out of trouble” stage. There are no employees. This is a self-funded, garage based and volunteer driven initiative. We appreciate your time and any help you can provide.
Mr. Nicks and Mr. Phillips enjoy using their fundraising and mechanical skills in the service of others. Bonita Bay residents who no longer have an interest in cycling are pleased to “clean the garage” for a good cause. It’s a win-win and a great Positive Spin for Florida cycling!