Three Chilliwack bicycle mechanics are looking to put their talents to use this Christmas by giving the gift of two-wheeled transportation.
Brody Isaak, Rob Friesen and Spencer Arnold are collecting used bikes, repairing them and then giving them away to those in need.
The three work at a local bike shop, which they don't want named because they don't want Project Bicycle-as they've dubbed their initiative-to appear to be a way to garner publicity for the business.
All three say they've seen first hand a demand for such a project both from those who require cheap transportation, and those who want to donate their used bikes to a worthy cause.
"There's definitely a need out here," Friesen said. "We see it working in the bike industry"
Isaak added: "We get people all the time coming in, asking where to donate bikes, what to do with them, especially around Christmas time."
For several years, the late Bill Storen took in used bikes, fixed them up, and proceeded to give them away. But Storen-Chilli-wack's long-time chief electoral officer-hung up his wrench several years ago.
Isaak, Friesen and Arnold have taken it upon themselves to fill the void.
Bicycles, they note, serve a variety of purposes.
"There's still a lot of people who need a bike for transportation who aren't as fortunate as others," Friesen said. For someone with a low-wage job, or no employment at all, a bicycle might be a person's sole means of transportation. And with bike thefts a persistent problem, the need to replace a bicycle can arise at any time.
And for children, of course, a bicycle is often a cherished piece of property-the first vehicle they can call their own.
Friesen said the trio is looking for "a quality bike that could be resurrected from somebody who is maybe not needing it in their family and would otherwise sell it at a garage sale for $5 or something ridiculous."
Arnold added: "People grow out of bikes. people get bored of bikes, people have bikes they bought 20 years ago that they've ridden twice that are just collecting dust. You might as well give them to someone that's going to use them."
That is especially common with children's bikes when young riders outgrow their old wheels and move up a size, Isaak noted.
Even with little publicity, the response has already been positive, Friesen said.
Last week Isaak set up a Bicycle Project Facebook page, and already the trio has had 15 to 20 bikes donated or pledged.
With 30-plus combined years fixing bicycles, Isaak, Friesen and Arnold say it's natural to do something positive with their bike-repair know-how.
"It's something we're good at, this is something we can give to our community with," Isaak said. "What one person sees as old and not usable, by making it ridable and making it work properly, it can become a great mode of transportation for somebody else."
The group is working with local community organizations to give away the bikes. Those with bicycles to donate can visit the group's Facebook page- go to Facebook and search for "Project Bicycle" or visit the Chilliwack Times' Facebook page for a link-and send a personal message. Volunteers will pick up the bikes from donors.