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Bikes abandoned at KCATA find new life through nonprofit

RevolveKC restores them for people in need
Posted at 9:46 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 23:33:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is proving once again that one man's trash is another man's treasure when it comes to bikes left behind on busses in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We literally get two or three bikes a day sometimes," KCATA Public Information Officer Petrina Parker said.

The Transportation Authority holds forgotten bicycles for about a month, but it's not in the business of storing them permanently. That's when RevolveKC comes to the rescue.

"Our mission is to provide bikes for people to go to work," RevolveKC Operations Manager Sam Swearngin said.

About once a month, Swearngin picks up bicycles from the KCATA and takes them to the nonprofit's bike shop on Troost Avenue.

"They can get the bikes off of our hands and then they can refurbish them and give them to people who need them," Parker said.

After the bikes are repaired, RevolveKC makes them available through its Earn-A-Bike Program.

Anyone can participate as long as they first pass an online bicycle safety test. The program costs $40, but there are discounts for people who are homeless or living in transitional housing.

Guy Taylor, who's in a residential program at City Union Mission, is among those who have benefited from the program.

"It's true what they say — once you learn how to ride a bike, you don't forget," Taylor said.

He relies on his bike to go to the grocery store and to volunteer at City Union Mission's community assistance store.

"I was really thankful to them for having this, because otherwise I would have had to bought it, and I didn't have any money at that time," Taylor said. "It was a great help to me."

Roy Webb, who's also benefitted from the program, uses his bike for exercise and to learn the city.

"It's great that they're doing that, because there's so many bikes out there available that nobody wants to ride anymore," Webb said.

It's hard for him to describe what it means to have two wheels, but there was one word that came to mind.

"Freedom," Webb said, "Freedom to move around."

A RevolveKC fundraiser is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at KC Bier Station. New Belgian donated a keg of beer, so all purchases will go directly to the nonprofit.