Abandoned bikes on VCU’s campus refurbished for local non-profits and international students

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A refurbishing project at VCU is helping hundreds of old bikes become new again. Through the Office of Sustainability, bikes are being collected, fixed and given to others to ride again.

“Figure out how to deal with them in a better and more sustainable way and also to kind of give back the bikes,” said Sera Erickson, bicycle program coordinator with the Office of Sustainability at VCU. ” Put them back into the community.”

Nearly 200 abandoned bikes lay on VCU’s campus every year, and Erickson and her team have dedicated themselves to repair them and bring them back to life.

“The abandoned bikes were kept in a warehouse,” Erickson said. “They were kept outside. They were, sort of, getting ruined by the weather.”

If a bike has been sitting for at least 30 days, VCU Police officers are able to tag it as ‘abandoned.’ Once it’s tagged, the owner has ten days to pick it up. If it’s not picked up, it sits for another 120 days until the mechanics are able to fix it.

RamBikes also keeps the cut bike lock to allow owners to prove ownership by unlocking it with their own key.

Once fixed, the bikes are rented out to international students or given to non-profits that work with young children. Erickson says giving them to a new life is a win-win.

“There have been programs in the past where people did donate the bikes to nonprofits, but they didn’t really refurbish them first,” Erickson said. “Hopefully it’s less hours and less trash for them to deal with and then also less stuff in the way stream here.”

There are opportunities to volunteer at RamBikes every week. Click here for more information.

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