By Tommy Noyes
Bikes on Rice volunteers have come up with a creative way to encourage and promote safe and fun cycling throughout our community by refurbishing and donating bicycles to worthy causes.
Bikes on Rice pau hana rides are free slow rolls, open to the public, starting at 4:30 p.m. on the Rice Street side of the Lihu‘e Civic Center. You will be able to explore Lihue’s quiet streets on the second Tuesday of every month through November.
“My customers donated their used bikes,” Briggs Bicycles owner Briggs Knott said. “Clearly these bikes were usable. Bikes on Rice coordinator Jim Benkert and I had the idea of fixing them up, then passing them on to people in our local community who have need of them. Our Bikes on Rice mission is to encourage and promote safe and fun cycling throughout our community. These bikes are safe and sound, and should be enjoyed by people in our community.”
The YWCA of Kaua‘i accepted the first batch of refurbished bikes on Aug. 15.
“A lot of our clients can’t afford to purchase bikes on their own,” said Jennifer Carter, YWCA of Kaua‘i clinical director of domestic violence services. “This donation enables us to provide them with a really valuable resource.
She said YWCA will designate one or two of the bikes to stay at the shelter for use by residents who wouldn’t otherwise have access to transportation.
“The other bikes will be given to clients who are benefitting from the use, either because they are meeting their transportation need or from having easy access to a fun form of exercise,” Carter said. “Exercise is an excellent coping skill and contributes toward overall wellness. These donated bikes will help us facilitate the clients’ wellbeing even after they leave our services.”
Bikes on Rice is a collaborative project managed by volunteers who plan, coordinate, and monitor the monthly rides. Kaua‘i Path promotes best bicycling practices by instructing the ride monitors, and Get Fit Kaua‘i raised funds to cover project expenses.
“This is another testament on the importance of community and collaboration among many, many different organizations, such as Kaua‘i Path, Get Fit Kaua‘i, and the YWCA of Kaua‘i,” said Bev Brody, director of Get Fit Kaua‘i. “If Kaua‘i Path or Get Fit Kaua‘i wanted to give away these bikes, we don’t have the connections — where is the need? But the YWCA of Kaua‘i works with people in need every day. People in need who can enjoy these bikes benefit. It’s a win-win situation all around. It’s awesome that we’ve entered this partnership, and I hope the collaboration continues.”
The plan is to continue receiving, fixing and donating more bikes. Supporters may drop off their old bikes at Briggs Bikes or bring it to the Lihu‘e Civic Center at 4:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month for the community slow roll.
For more information, contact Benkert at email@example.com or (808) 353-1889; or Briggs Bicycles at (808) 245-7579, located at 2955 Aukele St. in Lihu‘e.
- Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.