062316-blm-loc-1bikes

In this June 22, 2016, file photo, Rick Heiser with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project works on refurbishing a bicycle at the Creativity Center, 107 E. Chestnut St. in Bloomington. 

LORI ANN COOK-NEISLER, The Pantagraph

BLOOMINGTON — The West Bloomington Revitalization Project is hoping to curb abandonment of bikes by teaching residents through a new bike co-op how to make simple repairs. 

The WBRP Bike Co-op and Earn A Bike program are slated to start in June after the group moves in May into its new headquarters at the former Jesus House, 724 W. Washington St.

The new program will replace the group's annual Walk In/Bike Out, which has given away more than 1,000 donated and rebuilt bicycles to children and adults in need of reliable and affordable transportation. 

“The concern was that if they got a flat or something happened to the chain, they don't know how to make those simple bike repairs and abandon the bike,” said Deborah Halperin, a WBRP volunteer and former board member.

“So what the bike co-op wants to do is make sure that when people are gifted a bike that they are also empowered to maintain the bike so it continues to be of service to them," she added.

People can volunteer to work at the bike co-op to earn a bicycle and learn how to repair it, said Dan Steadman, a board member of the Friends of the Constitution Trail bike advocacy group and a member of a committee working to establish the co-op.

“You get $10-an-hour credit for each hour you volunteer,” he said. “People can also come in and pay a few bucks for a bike.”

Those 18 and older will be charged a $50 annual membership fee, which also can be paid through six hours of volunteer work in a year at the bike co-op. The fee will be waived for children younger than 18.

More information about the bike co-op can be obtained by calling WBRP at (309) 829-1200 or emailing westbloomington@gmail.com.

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Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @pg_nagle

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