A free bicycle program in Patchogue is adding a new component: bike repair training.
The Workers Without Wheels project of the Congregational Church of Patchogue was awarded a $6,580 grant to launch the training program. The money comes from the Self-Development of People Task Force of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and will be awarded Sunday at the church’s 10 a.m. service.
“We’re not only giving away bikes but also taking people in batches of six, and paying them to be trained and they’ll know how to repair bikes,” said Rev. Dwight Wolter of Patchogue's Congregational Church.
The repair program will launch in the spring, he said.
Participants in the bike repair program will be paid at least $12 an hour to undergo training, and will be given one new bicycle to assemble and one used bicycle to repair. They will also be issued bicycle repair tools to keep. At least 12 people will be able to participate in the first phase of the project, and Wolter hopes to find additional funding.
The bike repair program is not religious, Wolter said. The only requirement for the newly trained bicycle mechanics is that they donate one of their program bikes back to the Workers Without Wheels project.
Interested parties should call the church at 631-475-1235.
The Workers Without Wheels program began in 2010 as a way to help working people without access to transportation get to their jobs. The church collects donations of used and new bikes in adult and medium sizes. More than 100 bikes have been given to workers since the program started.