The Forest Preserve District's "Recycle Your Bicycle" program hit a new high during an October collection event at Monee Reservoir.
Ninety-eight bikes were donated, the most since the programís inception five years ago, said Bob Bryerton, an interpretive naturalist for the Forest Preserve District.
The bicycles will be refurbished by Chicago-based Working Bikes. Once the bikes are repaired, they are donated to people who need low-cost modes of transportation both locally and abroad.
"All kinds of bikes were donated, from mountain bikes to street bikes in both adult and kid sizes," Bryerton said of the Forest Preserve program. "Working Bikes was happy to have them because the agency is planning a Christmas event and the goal was to collect 400 bikes."
The October "Recycle Your Bicycle" program was the Districtís second of the year.
"This year at our spring event, we had 56 bicycles dropped off for donation," Bryerton reported.
The next bike donation program will occur in April 2017.
The "Recycle Your Bicycle" program has grown every year. For the first four years, there was only one bike recycling event. Last year, a second collection session was added.
"People seem to be aware that we are doing this and are setting their bikes aside for when we have the drop-off days," Bryerton said.
All bikes are welcome regardless of their condition. Even bikes that are impossible to repair can be used for parts. Nothing is wasted, and some bikes end up as scrap that is sold to further finance the operation, Bryerton explained.
Created in 1999, Working Bikes has redistributed more than 50,000 bikes worldwide. The agencyís mission is to take bicycles that would otherwise be sitting unused in garages and give them to people in Latin America and Africa who can use them to access jobs, education, medical attention and other resources. Chicago area residents in need also benefit from the program.
"Working Bikes donates to individuals and partner organizations here in Chicago, providing transportation to people in homeless transition, refugee resettlement, and youth empowerment programs in our own community," according to the Working Bikes website.
For more information on Working Bikes, visit www.workingbikes.org.Photo courtesy of Working Bikes