West Philadelphia group offering free bikes to essential workers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A nonprofit organization in Philadelphia is refurbishing bikes for essential workers.

For most of us, the pleasure of riding a bike is probably taken for granted. But when you depend on mass transit to get around and you still have to get to work during a pandemic, the option of riding a bike might just save your life.

Neighborhood Bike Works located at 3939 Lancaster Avenue is doing what they can to help residents get to their destination.

"We're offering our free bikes to two groups: essential workers and parents and guardians of our youth graduates," said Jessica West, the executive director of Neighborhood Bike Works.

She says this is the least they can do. She just asks the bikes get returned at a later date.

When there's not a pandemic, her nonprofit's generosity certainly won't stop.

Neighborhood Bike Works' main goal is to help young people in so many ways, all revolving around bicycles.

Participants, 8 to 18 years old, learn how to ride bikes and fix them by completing an 8-week course.

But that course translates into so much more.

"We're teaching kids leadership skills, teaching them employable job skills and we place them in neighborhood paid job opportunities," said West.

She says they encourage anyone in the community interested in cycling to stop in.

"We have a DIY bike workshop here where folks can come in and work on their own bikes and utilize our on-staff mechanics," said West.

They also sell refurbished bikes. The price depends on the make and condition of it, but West promises it's always a great deal.

"We feel that bikes are a natural social distancing tool. So it gives folks an alternate form to get to work and stay healthy during the pandemic," she says.

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