Bike Bank Renfrew County is open again, thanks to the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA). In 2021, its first year, more than 100 people in Renfrew County who couldn’t afford bikes got reconditioned used ones through this unique service. Above from left: OVCATA Bike Bank volunteers Howard Metcalfe and Drew Mellon, of Beachburg, and Pat Krose of Forester’s Falls. Photo submitted.
Volunteers working with Bike Bank Renfrew County collect used bikes, put them through a mechanical and safety checklist, and get them to people who can use them. Last year, they were almost overwhelmed with donations and requests from the Ottawa area, but this year, they’re making it clear the service, operated by a few people on a tight budget, can receive from or donate to people locally.
“The whole point is to enable everyone in Renfrew County who needs a bike, to have one,” according to Pat Krose, OVCATA co-chair. “Young or old, a bicyle can transform someone’s life. 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 Bike Bank Renfrew County will fill an important need.”
OVCATA members collect bikes from the OPP, individuals, bike stores, waste sites and other sources and put them in working order for donation to anyone who asks for one.
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 are 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.
“Bike Bank Renfrew County succeeded last year way beyond our expectation thanks to huge local support and participation,” says Ms. Krose. “We put a lot of bikes into the hands of people who needed and wanted them, and the response from people who got bikes was heartwarmingly positive.” OVCATA is asking for donations of bikes and for volunteers who can help pick up, repair, store and deliver bikes.
Individuals can contribute too by making cash donations on the OVCATA website or by volunteering to work with Bike Bank. “Bike Bank Renfrew County cost us more than $2,500 last year, including parts and insurance costs,” says Ms. Krose. “That comes to about $25 per bike. But it was worth it.”
Those wanting bikes can use an online application form to help OVCATA find a bike that’s right for them. To donate a spare bicycle people can fill out this form with your name, location and information about the bike.
Theilheimer,I.,OVCATA Communications Chair(2022,June10) Bike Bank Renfrew County is open again, after giving away more than 100 bikes in 2021 [media release]