A couple dozen families in Powassan who otherwise could not afford bicycles for their kids are getting a bit of help in that department. In conjunction with Discovery Routes Trails of North Bay, bike mechanics and residents of Powassan, 26 bikes were made from the parts of 40 old bicycles that were not worth saving. Kathie Hogan, the municipality’s events co-ordinator, hatched the idea over the winter when she approached Discovery Routes about the idea. Once the organization agreed, the next step was putting the word out that Powassan was looking for old bikes that were not worth fixing. Mark Giesler of Giesler Marine stepped up and offered to store the bikes at his business until the day came to refurbish them. That happened last week, when volunteers started taking apart the bikes and salvaged the worthwhile parts. “Of the 40 bikes that were dropped off, we made 26 mechanic-approved bikes,” Hogan said. Hogan says Discovery Routes has a recycling program and when the day arrived to take apart the old bikes, Discovery Routes arrived with spare parts and the bicycle mechanics. “So while the volunteers did the smaller jobs like washing down the bikes, pumping up tires and removing the cables, the bike mechanics did the intensive work and certified that they were road worthy,” Hogan said. To help identify who might need a bike, Hogan reached out to the local food bank, local churches, Community Living and the local daycare. Hogan says 15 of the bikes went to the food bank. They will be picked up when the facility opens Wednesday. The other organizations helped identify 10 families that could also use a bike. “People were excited to receive them,” she said. “There was one family with five children but couldn't afford a bike for all their kids. We were able to help.” Hogan says with one medium-sized girl's bike left over, the plan is to return it to Discovery Routes so it's available for another family. Hogan says “every kid needs a bike. That's my motto”. So with that motto in mind, Powassan residents can expect the program to repeat itself regularly because Hogan says some of the kids who got bikes this year will outgrow them in a few years and will likely need a new bicycle. Hogan says the other benefit to the new program is it diverts waste away from the landfill. “So we got a lot of bikes back on the road that otherwise would have ended up at the landfill,” she said.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget