Wildwood city staffers will partner with St. Louis BWorks (BicycleWorks) to collect bicycles and related parts this Saturday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The event will take place at Wildwood Town Center Plaza, 221 Plaza Dr.
"Any Bicycle! It does not matter what condition it is in," said Gary Crews, Wildwood's superintendent of parks and recreation.
Bicycle parts also will be accepted. In fact, anything with wheels can be donated: bicycles, tricycles, scooters, wagons, baby strollers—any item that is non-motorized with wheels.
The old bikes, or bicycles in need of repair, will be reconditioned or rebuilt by BicycleWorks and eventually are given to deserving children, who cannot afford to purchase a bicycle on their own, but who will earn one through various programs and projects.
Patrick Van Der Tuin, executive director of St. Louis BWorks, said this year they will have eight or more bike drives in various locations around St. Louis and St. Louis County, usually in cooperation with a municipality, such as Wildwood, or with a business, such as Emerson.
The non-profit's charter program, St. Louis Bicycle Works, gives kids the chance to earn a free bike while they learn about bicycle safety and maintenance from volunteers. They learn to work independently and as a group to solve problems. About 350 kids graduate from the program every year, earning their own bike, helmet, light and lock. St. Louis Bicycle Works also features a bike shop, where anyone can purchase a fully refurbished bike, with the proceeds benefiting St. Louis BWorks programs.
"Our two main methods of finding kids for our bike program, as well as our computer and writing programs, is through world-of-mouth, social media such as our Facebook page and in cooperation with the St. Louis Public Schools," said Van Der Tuin. "We are working to expand into other areas, but currently these are the two main ways."
Main workshops are held at the BWorks headquarters. During the past school year, they had Earn-A-Bike efforts in three of the St. Louis Public Schools, he said. "In one school it was offered as a PE credit, and in the other two, as a positive after-school activity. We are also working to expand our presence in schools over the next year."
"We do not give away or sell used helmets to students or adult customers," he said.
BWorks volunteers currently use the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) training course when they work with local police and public safety in terms of training. IPMBA offers internationally recognized Certification and Training Courses, said Van Der Tuin.
"These courses were developed by experts in the fields of police and EMS cycling, and are used by public safety agencies around the world. This training, delivered to thousands of public safety cyclists each year by IPMBA's cadre of certified instructors, provides skills for safe and effective use of the bicycle in police and EMS work," he said.