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Community Bikes program sees highest recorded demand

Residents can help fill growing need for children, adults who can’t afford a bike, program officials add

Carly Stone
Staff writer
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Posted 4/19/22

ONEIDA — If you’re in need of a bike and aren’t in a place to get one, Community Bikes may be able to help. To meet this year’s high demand, the organization needs all hands on deck and is …

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Community Bikes program sees highest recorded demand

Residents can help fill growing need for children, adults who can’t afford a bike, program officials add

Posted

ONEIDA — If you’re in need of a bike and aren’t in a place to get one, Community Bikes may be able to help. To meet this year’s high demand, the organization needs all hands on deck and is seeking help from area residents.

Community Bikes provides free bikes to those who would love to have a bike, but for whom buying one would be a hardship. Bikes are available to children and adults of all ages and sizes who don’t already have a bike, are residents of Madison County, and are eligible for public assistance or have other demonstrated need.

This spring the organization will host two Bike Distribution Days:

Sunday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Madison-Oneida Costello Transportation Center on Freedom Drive; and

Sunday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hamilton Central School on West Kendrick Ave., in Hamilton.

Community Bikes Founder Chuck Fox says that his organization has already reached out to Madison County schools, churches, human service agencies, and others to spread the word and assess the need.

“To date we have received nearly 500 applications, more than any previous year,” he shared.

Due to the high demand, new applicants who are 11 years old and older are being placed on a waitlist. Those on the list may still be able to receive a bike, depending on how many registered applicants don’t show up.

There are several ways citizens can help alleviate this need and ensure all who’d like a bike, get one. These include donating a bike, making a tax deductible contribution, and volunteering. Residents can log onto communitybikes.org to get started.

At Bike Distribution Days, pre-registered applicants will be individually fitted with a bike that they help select; the bike should suit the users needs and the user should demonstrate that they’re able to ride it safely. “Volunteers will help fit them with just the right bike,” Fox assured.

Bikes available are both new and used, the latter being reconditioned and cleaned by volunteers before gifting. Bike recipients will also receive a helmet and lock.

Since the organization’s founding in 2008, Community Bikes has placed more than 3,500 bikes with low income neighbors in Madison County and with at risk youth through its international outreach initiative in St. Kitts and Nevis.

This past year, Community Bikes has started up another new program, In Tandem, which is designed to provide a shared bike riding experience for adults and high school age students with special needs who may not be able to ride independently, or who would otherwise benefit from this experience.

Tandem bikes are used to match trained volunteer “Captains” (the rider in the front) with enthusiastic “Stokers” (the rider in the back) from area schools and from nearby Heritage Farm. Rides take place in and around Hamilton, New York.

To learn more about the program and to volunteer, visit communitybikes.org

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