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Seven volunteers, plus lots of broken bikes, equals magic

Volunteers make Northglenn Bike Program special


Rusty old bikes don’t belong down on the curb, according Northglenn Community Reach Coordinator Jenni Murphy.

She has a better idea; The Northglenn Bike Program, which takes all donated bikes, no matter the condition, and turns them into solid sets of two wheels.

“Last year, we donated well over 500 bikes,” Murphy said. “We gave away 465 at our big giveaway during Christmas and another 80-ish during the summer.”

The Northglenn Bike Program started more than 20 years ago when Northglenn sanitation foreman Jimmy Bowman started collecting bikes that had been thrown away on his route. He would complete minor repairs and give them away through local churches.

Now the program has seven volunteers who repair hundreds of bikes each year.

Bikes are donated from all over the North Metro Area - even local businesses are starting to get involved.

“State Farm in Westminster has put a challenge for themselves to collect 100 bikes this year, and I think they are close to 30 already,” said Murphy.

Donated bikes come in all shapes and sizes — foldable bikes, tandem bikes, even recumbent bikes — and they come in all stages of disrepair, from almost new to beyond fixing.

But nothing goes to waste. The volunteers strip any usable parts from bikes that can’t be repaired to use on bikes that can and recycle the rest.

Each volunteer has a small area within the shop where they work. They polish tire rims, clean off the rust, do minor painting, replace tubes, wheels, rims, brake cables, chains and anything else that needs replacing.

Volunteer Steve Austin, who has been with the bike program almost since the beginning, said

“We always learn something new,” Volunteer Steve Austin said. “We always get a bike in with some new little quirk we haven’t seen before. You have to figure out how it works and how to fix it.”

They donate bikes through the local foodbanks and this year they will also be giving away a small number on June 3 at Northglenn’s Kid’s Fishing. Attendees can fill out a card for the bike giveaway drawing.

They also partner with Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish food bank in Northglenn each December for the big annual giveaway. The volunteers attend the event to be on hand to adjust seats and handlebars for those who receive the bikes.

“The warm, fuzzy feelings come when you see the people get the bikes at the end,” McGaughey said. “Last Christmas there was a really nice, almost new condition, green bike, a John Deere bike. There was a lady there at the food bank, and she said, `My four-year-old would just love that bike.’ I told her, `if you want it, it’s yours’. She just started crying; it was a really special thing.”

Austin said the group has nearly run out of bikes several times in the past. Please call or email Jenni Murphy to arrange a pickup at (303)450-8904 or email here at jmurphy@northglenn.org.


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