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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Local charity looks to community for help replenishing farmworkers’ bike stocks
Volunteer at Bikes for Farmworkers Gary Kapac repairs a bike for one of NOTL's farmworkers. SOMER SLOBODIAN/FILE PHOTO

With a big increase in bike sales over this time last year, and a steady stream of needy customers still coming through the doors weekly, Bikes for Farmworkers in Virgil is asking the public to come forward with unwanted and repairable rides.

“It kind of crept up on us,” said sales and repair coordinator Ken Eden in describing the scarcity of road-ready bicycles at Bikes for Farmworkers.

“We thought we had a reasonable supply, but when we looked at them closely, some of them weren’t really good candidates for rebuild so we had to scrap a bunch.”

Currently, the organization only has three bikes that are fit for sale, with about 30 more on or ready for the repair stand.

As a result, it will hold a bike drop-off at the old Virgil public school building at 1665 Four Mile Creek Rd. on Saturday, June 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We are looking for repairable adult bikes,” said Eden, “and we don’t need or have parts for smaller children’s bikes.”

Eden admitted that this is a strange year for the organization when it comes to sales. 

Peak sales times are normally in early spring when workers begin arriving from their home countries, not in mid-June as is happening now.

The 277 bikes sold since opening day in March is only 100 less than all of last year, creating a definite need for more inventory.

The organization has a one-bike-per-worker policy.

“We have a computer program that we log in names of who we sell a bike to,” said Eden.

“It puts the date we sell, the buyer and the farm. We’ve got it set up so that if you come back it alerts us.”

For more information and to contact Bikes for Farmworkers, visit gatewaynotl.com/bikes.


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