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REI Collecting Used Adult and Children’s Bicycles at New West Hartford Store

REI Bike Drive 2017. Courtesy photo

REI is hosting a bicycle donation for BiCi Co at its new West Hartford store on Saturday, May 12.

BiCi Co, Hartford’s community bike shop that repairs and “up-cycles” used bikes. Courtesy image

By Ronni Newton

Building on the success of its first used bicycle drive, held in partnership with REI, BiCi Co is holding its second annual collection of adult- and child-sized bicycles on Saturday, May 12.

REI collected more than 70 used bicycles last year, and organizers are hoping to top that this year.

The bicycles can be dropped off at REI’s new store at The Corbin Collection, 1417 New Britain Ave., any time on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. They will be donated to Hartford’s community bike shop, BiCiCo.org, where they will be repaired and “up-cycled” – donated to needy youth and adults who can use them for sustainable and efficient transportation as well as recreation, according to event coordinator Jack Dougherty, a West Hartford resident who is also a member of Bike West Hartford and volunteer for BiCi Co.

The bicycles do not need to be in pristine condition. “Dusty, dirty, in need of some love, we don’t mind – bring your bike to REI and help someone else hit the road and trails,” states the REI event website.

BiCi Co is short for “bicicleta,” the Spanish word for bicycle, and “comunidad,” the Spanish word for community. The organization, which was created by the Center for Latino Progress in Hartford in 2015, serves as Hartford’s community bike shop. It is headquartered at 97 Park St. in Hartford, at the crossroads of the Downtown, South Green, and Frog Hollow neighborhoods.

Through the “Earn-A-Bike” program, youth learn to repair and maintain bicycles and can receive their own bikes by completing a safety course. BiCi Co also hosts do-it-yourself mechanics programs – including one for women only – and recently opened a storefront that sells bicycles for profit. The organization operates as a co-op, as does REI.

Volunteers and supporters are welcome to join BiCi Co’s collaborative bike-friendly community, and can contact BiCi Co Program Manager Joe Dickerson at [email protected] for more information.

All three of REI’s Connecticut locations (West Hartford, Norwalk, and Milford) are collecting bikes this year for donation to local community bike shops in celebration of National Bike Month. More information can be found here.

Last year Dougherty was hoping to have enough bikes donated to force him to rent a truck to transport them, and his goals were far exceeded. This year the truck is already rented, and he’s hoping to surpass last year’s collection.

Volunteers from Bike West Hartford will be on hand Saturday to assist REI staff in collecting the bikes and transporting them by truck to BiCi Co in Hartford. To volunteer for this event, contact Dougherty at [email protected].

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