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Bike recycling program nets record number of donations



Photo for: Bike recycling program nets record number of donations

Photo by Bob Bryerton

A record number of bicycles were dropped off during the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s fall “Recycle Your Bicycle” program at Monee Reservoir.

By the time the program ended in mid-October, 123 bikes had been donated, the most since the program began in 2011. The bikes are refurbished by Chicago-based Working Bikes for distribution to people in need. To date, almost 700 bikes have been collected through the Forest Preserve’s program, which has grown from an annual event to a semiannual program held in spring and fall.

"So many bikes were dropped off, Working Bikes had to bring two trucks to pick them up and will have to come back later in the week to pick up what would not fit," said Bob Bryerton, an interpretive naturalist for the Forest Preserve. "They were very excited with the amount of bikes that were dropped off and are pleased overall that we are working with them on this program."

Working Bikes will clean and repair the bikes before giving them to individuals in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

"Some are shipped overseas to help people in countries where having a bike would make a big difference in their lives,” Bryerton said.

Working Bikes refurbishes as many bikes as possible, and vintage models end up either getting sold at the shop to generate program revenue or they are offered as fundraising items for other charitable groups, Bryerton explained.

Created in 1999, Working Bikes has redistributed more than 50,000 bikes to people in Africa, Latin America and the Chicago area. The agency’s mission is to take bicycles that would otherwise be sitting unused in garages and give them to people who can use them to access jobs, education, medical attention and other resources.

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