Nationwide Bike Month evokes extra than simply wholesome residing and an empowered group
GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – May is National Bike Month, and the League of American Bicyclists determined that cycling is one of the healthier, cheaper, and greener modes of transportation. The Village Wrench nonprofit bike store in West Greenville has proven that bikes can serve an even greater purpose, engaging and empowering the community.
The Village Wrench bike shop provided free bikes to Joseph Hanson and Eric Archibald as part of its Earn-A-Bike program after hours of community service. These men are among the seven men in Homes of Hope’s yearlong residency program, the Men’s Workforce Development Program. The couple stated that they are not allowed to have cars while staying at Homes of Hope, so Village Wrench’s free bikes helped.
“I didn’t drive at all. Not a bit, ”explained Hanson. He has been with Homes of Hope for three months now and says he appreciates the simplicity and importance of a bike. Hanson is also more proud of having earned his bike by helping the community versus a handout.
“Earning the bike really put me in touch with their ministry,” remarked Hanson. “Just help others and it has helped me through my fitness. Since we have very limited mobility, it has helped me get around. “
Archibald has been allowed to join Homes of Hope for another year, this time in his sixth month as Resident Assistant. He stated that maintaining the bike worked wonders for his health.
“Sometimes we do over 100 miles a week. We do bike rides several times a week and personally I’ve lost 25 pounds in the last six months, ”said Archibald.
The seven men cycle together practically everywhere, on construction sites, in the gym, in church and elsewhere. Hanson and Archibald pointed out that the motorcycles gave them an extra layer of freedom on their path to recovery.
Homes of Hope is an organization that provides affordable homes to families in need and helps men maintain sobriety through biblical discipleship, life skills, and building and electrical appliance training.
While Homes of Hope provided a craft skill and Village Wrench taught bike maintenance (part of the deal to earn the free bike), these men created upward mobility. This mobility is part of a chain reaction for the community.
The men build houses for low income families while easily managing their main source of transportation. These families can then help others in the ward. This all started in part because of a free bike. Village Wrench program director Jessica Compton said she couldn’t be more proud.
“These men have been empowered to lead lives of purpose and freedom, and they do that on bicycles,” she said.
Homes of Hope is one of Village Wrench’s 10 official nonprofit partners. The two non-profit organizations support community members who, in turn, help others. Archibald said he was grateful and all men planned to pay it up.
“Now we want to help them and only the community, the people who come here. I came here when I got my bike, there were 30 bikes here and 27 of them were on their way to the door because they were giving them to a class of kids, ”explained Archibald.
Compton noted, on average, that they already store 50 to 100 bicycles at a time anyway. As a result, Village Wrench will be relocating to a nearby warehouse to further expand and create additional space for the youth programs and community workspaces.
“Where we have workbenches, people can work on their bikes themselves and have access to our tools. That’s a big part of what we’ve done before and what we’re going to do on an expanded level,” said Compton.
Those interested in using the workspace, earning a free bike, or getting rid of an old bike have the opportunity to do so. Compton stated that Village Wrench takes old bike parts and builds brand new bikes for sale or to earn through the free bike program.
“To know that other people’s lives are improved by the platform of a bike and that we are just a kind of hub to make sure they can and to stay in relationship with them is the right thing for the best,” said Compton.
Interested parties can apply online or submit a paper application for the Earn-A-Bike program. After that, you’ll need to do 10 to 20 hours of community service in a location of your choice.
“Anything you are passionate about and know will serve the community. You can do that, ”said Compton.
Children in kindergarten up to the 5th grade have to do at least 5 hours of community service for their free bike. All participants are asked to spend at least 4 hours at the Village Wrench, where they will learn basic bike maintenance, which will also help them maintain their reconditioned bikes in the warehouse. The volunteer hours are pretty much the equivalent of dollars.
“With 10 hours you will make about $ 100 bike. And then a 20 hour, $ 200 bike, depending on what we have in store, ”said Compton.
If you’re not interested in getting a free bike but are interested in helping Compton added that the nonprofit always needs help. There are volunteer nights twice a month and afternoon shifts once a week. Community members are also invited to donate old bike parts or money.
You can find more information about Homes of Hope here. To learn more about Village Wrench, click here.