Community Bikes collects and refurbishes donated bicycles and places them with families in Madison County who can’t afford one. Working in partnership with agencies like Community Action Partnership, the Madison County Department of Social Services, Madison County Head Start, schools and churches, Community Bikes has placed more than 1,700 bikes with families in our county. Community Bikes relies entirely on volunteer support and on bicycles and resources donated from the community in order to provide bikes, along with locks and helmets, to those in need.
To qualify for a bike, recipients must be referred by a social service agency representative, church leader, schoolteacher, coach or counselor. Each recipient is endorsed by someone working closely with that individual or family, and that person believes that the recipient or family would not otherwise be able to afford a bike and that they can make good use of the bike for transportation, commuting, or exercise.
In addition, Community Bikes is engaged in programming that fosters a culture of cycling and encourages a healthy life habit of cycling. When students at Madison Central School helped to service and clean bikes, the school received more than 20 bikes in exchange that allowed them to implement a new outdoor fitness program as part of the school’s Physical Education class. Last year, in recognition of its work in promoting a healthy lifestyle of cycling for low-income families, Community Bikes received an Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield Community Health Award.
While Community Bikes relies on either donated bikes, or on bikes that are reclaimed from the Madison County Department of Solid Waste before they end up in a landfill, they incur expenses associated with repairing and tuning each bike. The average cost of providing a bike, helmet and lock for a low-income neighbor in Madison County is $30. Through Madison County Gives, Community Bikes hopes to raise $3,000 in order to serve an additional 100 low-income residents of the county in 2015.