Ponca City’s new bike ministry gives wheels and hope to people who need bicycles but cannot afford them. Friendship Bikes is a collaborative, community-wide program to repair and give donated bikes to neighbors of all ages who are in need of basic transportation and/or recreation. Its volunteers also work on bikes for those who have a bike but cannot afford repairs. It is hosted within Ponca City’s First Christian Church.
On Saturday Aug. 26, Friendship Bikes will be open to the public for the first time. It will be open regularly on the last Saturday of each month, except for November and December when it will be open on the third Saturdays. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friendship Bikes will be accepting donated bikes, bike requests, and distributing bikes during those times. Located in a basement room of First Christian Church, 210 N. 5th, entry into the Bike Cave is through the double doors on the southwest side of the church. Signs will mark the entrance.
Drawing from the Biblical directive to “love your neighbor as yourself,” Friendship Bikes grew out of a church planning retreat earlier this year. Over the past few months, the Bike Team has been working on setting up the program by researching other bike ministries throughout the country.
The Bike Team was particularly inspired by the words on the website of Love INC of Greater Hershey, PA, “A bicycle can provide an opportunity to do things one cannot achieve on foot: A chance to get a hot meal across town, go to a job interview, accept a job, access medical care, or attend school. Suddenly a used bicycle becomes a ticket to independence and a chance for a better life. This includes kids who simply have not had the chance to own their own bike.”
For an adult to receive a bike, they must complete Bike Request Form, watch a bicycle safety video, and sign a pledge to be both a safe and courteous bike rider, and a responsible bike owner.
For young people to receive a bike, a parent or adult guardian must accompany them to bring-in or fill-out the Youth Request Form, and watch the bike safety video together. The youth must sign the same pledge as adults do. The parent or guardian must sign a pledge to help and encourage their child to be a safe, responsible, courteous bike rider.
Request forms are available in the lobby of First Christian on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. These forms require contact information, plus the person’s height, so that bikes can be sized to fit them. If the correct size bike is not available, they will be put on a waiting list and contacted when their bike is ready.
Friendship Bikes is not a bike resale store or a commercial repair shop.
It is funded through donations.
To donate fixable, surplus bikes or for more information, phone Friendship Bikes through the First Christian Church, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays, 762-1667.