BG Rides wants to kick efforts into a higher gear

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

Biking has many benefits.

The rider gets exercise, and maybe sheds some pounds. Bike riding can help reduce the use of cars, and the resulting emissions.

And for some folks it’s how they get where they need to go. For those people even the cost of an inexpensive bike can be a barrier.

For a couple years, an informal group of bike enthusiasts has been gathering unwanted bicycles, rehabilitating them, and then giving or selling them for a minimal price.

Now Kelly Wicks, one of the organizers of BG Rides, wants to step up the effort. They are meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Anyone interested can contact Wicks at: kelly@groundsforthought.com

BG Rides, Wicks said, started as an offshoot of the Community Rides in summer, 2016.

He participated in the rides and from that sprouted the idea to connect unwanted bikes with bike riders.

“We’re looking for help to see if there are other people  in the community interested in helping to take the group from its more informal nature to something more structured,” Wicks said.

“In talking to  people in the community from various non-profits and international students, there’s a great need for bikes. For some people it’s an important form of transportation.”

In its three summers of existence, BG Rides has distributed about 200 bikes, he said. The group would like more and wants to enlist more help to pursue that mission.

“We fix those bikes up and either give them away or sell them for the cost of that it took to get them road ready.”

Though it has been a low-key effort, Wicks said that Grounds for Thought gets multiple calls a month from people inquiring about finding a bike.

“We need bikes,” he said. “We’re asking for bike donations.”

Maybe landlords have abandoned bikes that can be refurbished rather than put out on the scrap heap. Even bicycles that can’t be repaired can be used for spare parts.

Bicycling, Wicks said, is the second most common form of transportation after walking.

“How many students have we seen come over from China or Europe and get here and not have any avenue to get around?”

He added: “When you ride your bike a little bit, you become of aware of benefits.”

Maybe it’s just “getting out and seeing your neighborhood,” he said. “There are so many benefits to riding your bike.”

Wicks said: “We’re not talking about cycling. It’s riding bike as a form of mild exercise, and a form of transportation.”

Bikes offer a way to introduce a form of “incidental exercise” into their daily routine for people who don’t have the time to carve out a time to go to the gym or take a run.

As more people ride, he said, the need for bike lanes and other infrastructure for other forms of transportation will become more obvious.

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