Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recycle your cycle to help kids learn new skills, earn a bike

From The Tennessean * April 12, 2009

Wanted: used bicycles, any style, any size, any condition.

Oh, yeah. I love this literal ReCycling.

Here's the deal: A bike donation program has been organized by http://www.oasiscenter.org/"> Oasis Center, http://www.teamgreenonline.com/"> Team Green and the ReCYCLE your Cycle initiative, with the new Halcyon Bike Shop leading the charge.

The idea is for Halcyon to conduct a series of bike repair workshops, where young people can learn how to work on bikes and actually earn a bike for themselves, according to Halcyon co-owner Elise Tyler.

"The (donated) bicycles are recycled, repaired and transformed into valuable vehicles for youth who are homeless or living in low-income areas,'' said Elise, who said the free workshops should crank up in late May at the new Oasis Center on Charlotte.

She says initially a group of about 20 young people (ages 11-21) from the Oasis neighborhood will serve as a test of the program — attending bike workshops three days a week through the summer, learning just about every aspect of repairing and maintaining bicycles as well as learning about bike safety, bike lanes, greenways and other aspects of the wonderful world of biking.

"After that we want to expand it into other neighborhoods. It's a very practical program," Elise said. "The kids (who will be the first workshop students) are so excited about it. It's really cool to see the energy. A lot of them are too young to drive, and even if they could drive they can't afford a car. This works on several practical levels — providing transportation and building skills and confidence.''

So if you have unwanted, unused bikes, just drop them off at Centennial Park's Earth Day festivities, Saturday at the Halcyon Bike Booth (there should be lots of signs.) They'll also take bike parts and accessories such as helmets, locks, air pumps, "just about anything bicycle related,'' says, Elise who noted that your donations are tax-deductible and promised that "the process will be quick and easy.''

"The bikes do not have to be in riding condition. Part of the program is that kids work on their bikes and fix them up, so it's fine if the bikes are not in riding condition,'' Elise said.
Halcyon, whose main business is to repair and sell used bikes, opened just before Christmas over on 12 South. Elise said she and her partner, Andrew Parker, "had wanted to do this (youth workshop) from the start — but it was just too much to do when we first opened the retail shop, so we put it off a few months. Then just as we were thinking about it again, Oasis contacted us about us doing a bike workshop. And we said, 'well, yeah, that's exactly what we'd like to do.' ''
Isn't it great when things just work out like that? I just love it.

Oh, and if you can't get your unwanted bikes to Centennial Park on Saturday, just take them to the Halcyon Bike Shop, at 1118 Halcyon Ave., whenever you can and tell them you want to donate them to the youth workshop.

Additional Facts
What: Nashville’s Earth Day Festival, which will include food, live entertainment, exhibits and activities for all ages.
When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Centennial Park
Admission: Free
Contact: www.nashvilleearthday.org or www.tennesseegreen.com