By Darren Lum
Surrounded by nearly 50 donated bikes of various sizes and styles – some with tassels some with baskets – in his front yard Blake Paton says he’s happy with the response from the community to his initiative to get people riding.
It was only just over two weeks ago that he asked for donations of bicycles and offered repairs in exchange for donations to the food bank and he thanks the community for their help.
“None of this would have been possible had people not been generous with their donations that they found. So they were responsive to that. I’ve got lots of donated bikes” he said.
Some bikes came from Lindsay and he was going to go and get bikes from Bobcaygeon later in the afternoon following the interview on Wednesday last week.
“Lots of people have brought them by and so in the end there are lots of parents who are able to ride with their kids which is (once the bugs come out) about the only good form of exercise there is … that’s possible anymore. I know there are lots of parents who can ride with their kids now because either I’ve repaired their bikes or I’ve given them a bike that was donated and then they made a donation to the food bank in return or they’ve just gotten to bike with their kids. That’s really the goal of the program so I’m happy with what we’ve done so far. It looks like we’re nowhere near done so we continue” he said.
The middle school teacher estimates there has been close to $2000 donated to the food banks which was accepted in return for completed bike repairs for those able to pay.
“It’s really not my business whether they donate or not. If somebody intends to donate and they find that they can’t well at least the person is back on their bicycle and that’s the main goal” he said.
His message to the public is to contact him if they’re interested in getting a bike that might have been out of financial reach before.
“If the public needs a bike then don’t be shy. I’ll find a solution” he said.
Lots of bikes for children are still available. Paton said he’s been supplying any needed parts from his shop. Although he appreciates donated parts he isn’t asking for any since he’s happy to contribute his labour skill and parts.
When will the initiative end?
“Well as soon as things are back to more or less normal. Any bikes that I’ve got that are surplus I can give them away at schools” he said.
There will be a use or place he will find for all of the bikes that have been donated.
“We’re not going to have you know 50 bikes in my lawn forever” he said.
For more information contact Paton through Twitter at @monsieurpaton email at Blake.Paton@tldsb.on.ca or on Facebook.