TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Most people use bikes as a way to get around, but the Topeka Community Cycle Project is using them to help people gain confidence and learn some new skills.
Tim Marchand has been volunteering at their open shop for the past six years.
“Everything we have in the bike shop is donated by people in the community,” said Marchand. “We try to take those resources and use them to help people with their bicycle issues.”
But at this shop, the bike mechanics don’t fix your bike. Instead, they teach you how to do it.
“It’s that moment when they suddenly realize they can do this themselves is a self-empowering moment,” said Marchand. “It’s that process I think that draws people into the bike shop.”
The goal of the shop is to empower people through education and collaboration.
“It’s there to help yourself,” said Vice President of the Board Daniel Sweet. “You bring your own bike. If you don’t have a bike, you can help others fix their bike. It’s all there to help each other, to show up and support the community.”
Spending time at the shop also comes with some perks.
Through their earn-a-bike program, after five hours of volunteering, you get to pick out your own bike.
Summer Cole just started the program.
“It feels a whole lot better to be able to earn something instead of something being given to you,” said Cole. “That was our whole point in coming here.”
Not only will she earn a bike. She’ll also gain some new skills.
The shop is located inside the Oakland Community Center. It’s open on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
For more information about the Topeka Community Cycle Project, click HERE.