For more about the program, contact Stan Appleton at 770-297-1090.
Working at an Athens bicycle shop has paid off for Ryan Reid in more ways than one.
The job provided money while he attended the University of Georgia and gave him a set of repair skills he’s now putting to use for a good cause.
“Bikes are my passion and getting kids outdoors is another thing I’m real big on,” said Reid, a Gainesville attorney.
Reid and fellow Kiwanis Club of Gainesville member Stan Appleton are heading up an effort to refurbish old bikes and donate them to needy children and adults.
Appleton, a retired poultry company executive, presented his idea for the program to the club earlier this year, after learning about a similar initiative in another state. He had read about the program in a Kiwanis publication.
Volunteers lined up and the call went out for donated bikes.
The club ended up with about 50 bikes, half of which came from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Many of the sheriff’s bikes were ones unclaimed as part of items recovered from burglaries. A judge’s order allowed the sheriff’s office to give the bikes to the club.
The bikes were in “mixed condition,” Appleton said. “But we took anything we could get, because we could rob parts” from the lesser bikes to repair those in better condition.
“Some of these bikes new (are) in the $800 to $900 range,” he said.
The plan is to finish up the program and have the bikes distributed by the end of March.
Until then, club members are working in vacant office space off Hilton Drive and Atlanta Highway, loaned to them by Gainesville Realtor Jack Waldrip. They are storing the bikes in a garage area.
Appleton said he expects to end up donating about 30 of the bikes. The club has several options of what to do with them.
Several youth-centered organizations have a need.
But also, “we have a (particular) need in Hall County (to help) adults ... who don’t have vehicles for various reasons,” Appleton said.
But bikes have more than a useful purpose.
“Having a machine that can go in excess of 20 mph under human power is just fun,” said Reid, a biking enthusiast, laughing.
Appleton said that once the bikes are distributed, he’ll started looking at getting the program back up to speed later in the year.
The sheriff’s office “will have a few more bikes but not many, so this (year’s program) will be the biggest rush,” he said. “In the future, it’ll probably be 10-12 bikes (per year).”