Volunteers turn piles of discarded bikes into back-to-school gifts for kids

By | September 13, 2020

One person’s trash is another one’s treasure.

That’s the mantra of a Winnipeg bike repair group which is setting up shop at the Brady Road Landfill this weekend to refurbish bikes.

What was once considered refuse will be cleaned, fixed up and turned into back-to-school gifts for kids who need them.

In previous years, the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH) would host events throughout the summer to chip away at a mountain of discarded bikes, but volunteers haven’t been able to gather much this season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This pile of bikes has really piled up this summer, so we wanted to eat into it as much as possible,” said WRENCH co-ordinator Jon Benson.

Dave Elmore volunteers at the WRENCH and helped refurbish bikes at the build-a-thon on Saturday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

This weekend, dozens of volunteers are taking part in a physically distanced, outdoor back-to-school build-a-thon.

The goal, according to organizer Pat Neufeld, is to refurbish 250 bikes out of about 700 that are piled up at the dump.

Volunteers work to refurbish a bike that was discarded at the Brady Road Landfill. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

“This year because of the unique circumstances that we’re all under, we thought that getting bikes to youth especially at the start of the school year would be super important,” he said.

Once the bikes are re-built, WRENCH volunteers will distribute them to different community and school partners, who will put the bikes in the hands of kids and youth who might not have one.

The build-a-thon will continue Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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