Thanks to Michael Laren

Upcycling bikes for kids

Volunteers are taking used bikes and fixing them up in order to donate to kids and adults.

Castlegar has a master of up-cycling, who is working behind the scenes and making the lives of local children better. Michael Laren has been on a mission for about six years — collecting used bicycles, making necessary repairs and then giving them away to people who could really use them.

“I do it in my spare time, when I am not working or volunteering,” said Laren, who after going through some hard times of his own is determined to give back to the community. Laren’s passion for mountain biking also made this project a good fit for him. “It’s basically about the kids,” he added. “When I get a smile and a kid in their dad’s truck, screaming thank you at the top of their lungs, I love it.”

Last year he gave away 49 bicycles — mostly to children, but also to adults, focusing on people with low incomes or disabilities. “It gives the children the freedom of the outdoors and gives the parents a break too,” explained Laren. “There are a lot of people with hardships out there.”

“I have to give credit to Deb McIntosh, she is the one who kicked this program off the ground,” added Laren. “I am thankful for that woman — for giving me a break.”

Another partner in the project is Jeff Tellier, who takes care of a lot of the picking up and dropping off of the bikes.

If you would like to donate or request a bicycle, or donate money to help with repairs, you can message Michael Laren on Facebook or give him a call at 250-608-1927.

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