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Redmond Rotary pedals along with bike recycling program | Guest Column
Rotary club and bikes, not exactly peanut butter and jelly, but when you are talking about a Rotary chapter in the “Bike Capital of the Northwest,” the pair makes a lot more sense.
Redmond Rotary is known for RedSpoke, its five-day, 300-mile, fundraising bike ride across Washington (set for July 16; www.redspoke.org), but this isn’t its only contribution to the local bike community. The club is instrumental in the Eastside bike recycling program, and its efforts are making a big impact — both at home and abroad.
Three times a year, you will find the Rotary’s bike recycling team, led by Rick Smith and Jeff Hayenga, at the City of Redmond’s recycling and collection event. From their station, they collect the bikes the people on the Eastside no longer want or need, and distribute them to three organizations that are able to use the bikes to change lives.
Two of the organizations that benefit from the bikes are Bicycles for Humanity and the ARAS (Acceptance, Respect, Affection and Support) Foundation. Both send the bikes to Africa, where they are being used to help people get where they need to go.
The third organization is a local nonprofit named Eastside Baby Corner (EBC). Located in Issaquah, EBC distributes the bikes to kids all over east King County through family assistance agencies, like Hopelink and Head Start.
Redmond Rotary’s relationship with EBC began three years ago in a “stars aligned” kind of way. Rotary’s recycled bikes were beginning to pile up and they were looking for an organization, preferably local, that could use the bikes for good. EBC had just been given the space to house a bike program, and had just gained an (avid biker) volunteer, Greg Wineland, who was willing to head it up. A partnership was born, and local kids were the winners.
Together Redmond Rotary and EBC have taken a program that was able to give bikes to 30 kids a year and turned it in to one that gave out nearly 300 bikes last year. These are bikes that could have ended up in the landfill, instead happy Eastside children are riding them around, feeling that freedom that only comes from the seat of a bike — something the people who live in a “bike capital” can surely appreciate.
While, thanks to Redmond Rotary and the good people of Redmond and the Eastside, the EBC bike program has grown greatly in the past three years, there are still children on the waiting list for a bike.
The next recycling event is quickly approaching. If you or someone you know has a bike they are no longer using, please consider donating it to the Redmond Rotary. EBC gives bikes to kids up to age 12, so children’s and adult bikes can be used. If EBC can’t use the bike, Bicycles for Humanity and the ARAS Foundation can. If you don’t want to wait for the collection event, there is also a year-round drop-off site in Redmond — at Marymoor Self Storage — where you can bring your bike (and anything else you want to donate to local children). Visit www.marymoorselfstorage.com for location and hours.
Stephanie Zurn is the Eastside Baby Corner communications specialist.