Springfield co-op recycles bicycles, teaches students bike repairs

Bicycles long forgotten in a Springfield Police Division storage facility will now hit the road again through new partnership with the Springfield City School District.

The Springfield Bike Co-op reCYCLE will hold a grand opening Saturday at The Dome, 700 S. Limestone St. The reCYCLE garage will be open from noon to 2 p.m. for students wanting to refurbish and repair either their bikes or ones provided by the reCYCLE team.

Founder Rick Butler started the program a few months ago. He was inspired by his love of bikes and the realization that some children don’t have access to bicycles.

The team partnered with the Springfield Police Division to provide unclaimed bikes released from custody obtained throughout the city.

The co-op provides participants with the tools, parts and bikes based on availability. Students have the opportunity to take home those bikes through various hands-on activities.

Students and adults from the area can become mentors for the children entering the garage with little to no experience. They undergo training in bicycle maintenance and assist participants in repairs.

“I can build a $50 wheel or a $3,000 racing wheel — whatever we need,” reCYCLE mentor Rick Wait said. “I’ve been riding bikes since before I could walk so (reCYCLE) is a really importance resource for kids.”

The garage will likely be open every Wednesday for the rest of the summer from 3 to 6 p.m. following the opening Saturday. For more information or to sign up, call 937-­505-2948.

Because all of the necessary tools and expertise are readily available, kids can own safe and operational bikes for both transportation and entertainment. From flat tires to broken chains, the reCYCLE mechanics team is prepared for it and the service is offered for free.

“We want to teach kids how to work on bicycles and with mechanics,” Wait said.

Another reCYCLE mentor Triston Rogers said students can learn how to troubleshoot problems without a lot of investment.

“Materials cost money,” said Rogers, “and you don’t know what you need.”

The co-op also seeks to educate students on bike safety, collaboration and leadership skills.

“It overall builds their confidence,” CareerConnectED Center program coordinator Rene Stratton said.

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