The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) is helping local refugees with bicycles for transportation. Watch the WHSV TV3 Piece on the program
Update 6/9/2013: Listen to the WMRA radio piece on the program
This initiative began in November 2015 when a group of refugees in Harrisonburg identified transportation as a major challenge. For many refugees, bicycling is the most efficient and reliable transportation available. Since the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition aims to foster all forms of cycling including for transportation, this partnership is a natural fit.
How the program works:
Church World Service Immigration & Refugee Program works with new refugee families and signs up individuals interested in bicycling as transportation. Those individuals then attend a class taught by SVBC members where they learn basic bike skills, safety skills and bicycle related laws. At the end of the 2-hour class, refugees get to take home their bicycle, helmet, bike lock, and bike pump. If they want any additional help or teaching in the following weeks or months, we are happy to schedule additional one-on-one classes with them.
- For $10, you can sponsor a bike lock
- For $20, you can sponsor a floor pump for a refugee family
- For $200, you can sponsor a used, reliable bike
- For $220, you can sponsor a brand new bicycle
- For $250, you can sponsor an entire bike + lock + pump package for a refugee
- (Helmets are obtained free through Safe Routes to School)
- Do you have an old bicycle to donate? We will gladly accept bicycle donations that are in decent shape and can be reliably used for daily commuting.
- If you speak a foreign language, we would love your help teaching classes. The language barrier is one of our biggest challenges.
- If you have a professional background in bicycle repair, you can volunteer to help build bicycles when new shipments come in.
- Are you a cyclist comfortable teaching the rules of the road? You can help teach hands-on bicycle classes with our refugees.
Local partners and sponsors include:
- Church World Service Immigration & Refugee Program
- Wyse Cycles
- Rocktown Rallies
- Local bicycle shops
- Voluntary Gas Tax Club
- Ritchie Vaughan at Kline May Realty
- Safe Routes to School
- We are working on a partnership with the League of American Bicyclists to create pamphlets on bike laws and safety in a variety of languages.
- We are also working on a future partnership with Gift And Thrift.
- Do you know of any additional organizations interested in helping with this initiative? We are always looking for more partnerships!
For questions, contact, donations, or to volunteer, please email Ritchie Vaughan at [email protected].