MORGANTOWN W.Va. — Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization that works in local communities nationwide to get bikes into the hands of kids who can’t afford them, and Morgantown will soon get its very own chapter.
The group recently acquired the funding necessary to become a fully-fledged member of the Free Bikes 4 Kidz program. Free Bikes 4 Kidz is also a member of the Youth Cycling Coalition and has partnered with other local organizations such as St. Ursula’s church, Animal Friends, and Christian Help to assist with distributing repaired bikes to local children.
Now that they have acquired the money to become a chapter of Free Bikes 4 Kidz, they say their most significant need now is more space. Space to repair bicycles people donate, but also space to store them, and urge anyone who has extra garage space in their business or building to contact them.
Morgantown chapter president and owner of nonprofit organization Nerd Rage, Jeremy Blizard, says they have been able to recycle 60 bicycles since they began operations. Nerd Rage works to recycle a variety of items from electronics and batteries, to books and musical instruments.
Vaike Haas, an associate professor of landscape architecture at WVU and a board of directors member for Free Bikes 4 Kidz in Morgantown, says people should be more aware of the impact recycled bikes can have.
“There’s plenty of families who don’t mind the expense of a new bike for their kid, and just keep in mind that the old bike has value too, and it has value to somebody locally. So just knowing where to donate it, to donate it to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, we’ll make sure it gets in the hands of somebody who needs it most,” Haas said.
Another member of the group, Will Ravenscroft, is the bicycle technician and is responsible for repairing bikes and making them ready to be donated back to the community. Ravenscroft has been working on free bikes for the community for over 20 years and has been able to get 21 bikes to kids since November.