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OVCATA launches Bike Bank so everyone can ride


Ish Theilheimer

PEMBROKE: The Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) is launching a unique new service to enable everyone in the Valley who needs a bike to have one. Volunteers working with the Bike Bank collect and recondition used bikes and get them to people in need of them.
OVCATA members are collecting bikes from the OPP, individuals, bike stores, waste sites and other sources and putting them in working order for donation to anyone who asks for one.
“Young or old, a bicyCle can transform someone’s life,” says OVCATA co-chair Pat Krose, of Forester’s Falls. “A bike can give you a sense of independence and freedom and make you stronger, healthier and happier. For the people who need and want a bike but can’t afford one, we hope the Bike Bank will fill an important need.”
People who want a bike simply need to contact OVCATA, and volunteers will determine what kind and size of bike is needed and arrange for delivery. Initially, contact is being done through community agencies.
Bikes will be stored at various locations around the County. Yantha’s Cycle in Pembroke came forward to offer the Bike Bank’s first storage location, as well as technical support and advice, and used parts.
“To succeed, the Bike Bank will need lots of local support and participation,” says Ms. Krose. OVCATA is asking for donations of bikes and for volunteers who can help pick up, repair, store and deliver bikes. “We also need new helmets for all the kids who get bikes, and we are hoping local merchants and service clubs can help with this need. Individuals can contribute too by making cash donations on our website – WWW.OVCATA.CA .”
In Pembroke, the OPP delivered 34 unclaimed used bikes to OVCATA that had been warehoused for several years. “Some are in good shape, but most need work,” says Ms. Krose. “Fortunately, we’ve got some good people who love bikes working on them.”
To get or give a bike, or to get involved as a volunteer, email BIKEBANK@ovcata.ca.