In 2019, St. Paul Rotarian John Rogers opened a free-bike shop for St. Paul and surrounding rural neighbors. Since then, he’s given over 500 used and refurbished bikes to people of all ages.
An easy concept to master, according to John, it’s not only a worthwhile Rotary service project, but it gives high school students an opportunity to earn community service hours.
Among the bikes he’s given away are 10 to the Kid Academy Day Care and over 20 to the Centura School to be used in their elementary physical education program. He and his helpers spend an estimated 15 hours a week at the shop.
John reports that kids, moms, and grandparents love the bike shop and fully support the venture. Because of donated salvaged bike parts, the cost of the bikes has dropped from $20 to $12. The kids can upgrade their bikes up to three times a year as they grow.
John also repairs bikes at no charge, urging his customers to stay and learn how to repair the bikes themselves. Also, the local Homestead Bank provides free helmets when requested. The St. Paul Rotary Club maintains a “Friends of the Bike Shop” shoe box for donations, which is used to pay for parts. In the spring of 2021, the club also donated six bike stands around town to accommodate the increased number of cyclists.
If you want to know more about the bike shop, John is eager to share his experience with other clubs. You can email him at jwrogers49 @ yahoo.com. You can also find out more at Facebook @St. Paul Bikes. “It’s a verb, not a noun.”
For more speaker suggestions, see https://rotary5630.org/district-5630-launches-speakers-bureau/.