Urban Bike Project Helps Cyclists in Wilmington

A Wheelie Cool Group: Urban Bike Project in Wilmington helps those in need get their hands (and feet) on bicycles.

Urban Bike Project does much more than simply collect donated bicycles and give them to people who most need them. The nonprofit also educates folks about how to maintain a bike and how to ride safely while it also

spreads the message that cycling is a cost-efficient way to get around.

The organization was founded six years ago by Sarah Green, David Hallberg and Brian Windle, bike enthusiasts who graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 2001.

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“We lived in Wilmington and rode bikes and worked on bikes and the neighborhood kids would ask us to help them fix their bikes,” Green says. “There weren’t any bicycle
resources in our city, so we decided to make some.”

The trio set up shop along North Market Street and they open its doors from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Volunteers, who are provided an orientation and a mechanics course, do everything from sorting donated parts and patching inner tubes to teaching people how to repair a broken bike. Green says about 40 people from the community show up at the shop on any given Tuesday or Thursday.

The free bike program for adults has given out dozens of bikes to those in need. The Earn-a-Bike program, for kids ages 10-16, has provided about 100 youths with bikes during the past two years. The youths are offered bikes at a low cost while they are taught how to maintain and repair their bikes.

The shop also sells refurbished bikes at a reasonable rate, ranging from $5 to $100 or $200 for a “super-nice” bike, Green says. The average cost for a bike is about $40. Proceeds go toward the project’s expenses.

Green says the organization could use more volunteers. The shop offers a basic mechanics class, as well as Bicycle Commuting 101 and a tire/tube and bike fit class.

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“It’s important to get volunteers who know how to work on bicycles and also know how to work with people,” she says. (urbanbikeproject.com)  —Drew Ostroski

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