DETROIT – The Metro Detroit community has come together to help a nonprofit and the students it benefits after a truck containing a dozen bikes was stolen from them.
Lincoln Park nonprofit Programs to Educate All Cyclists provides opportunities for people of all abilities to learn how to mechanically repair bicycles. The bikes are refurbished for children in need, and the nonprofit teaches people with disabilities how to ride bikes.
Program founder John Waterman says that volunteers loaded 12 bikes in need of repair into their 16-foot truck on Monday, March 21. By the next morning, all of it was gone.
“We thought (there was) no way somebody would steal our truck with our bikes with what we’re doing,” Waterman said.
The stolen truck has since been found, but the engine was damaged and all of the bikes were missing from it. Those bikes were being repaired for middle school students in Detroit.
“You’re taking away from students with disabilities,” Waterman said. “This is a chance for a 10-year-old that may have a physical limitation that gets to ride a bike this summer.”
Waterman says after the theft, the group was able to pull bikes from another part of their fleet to make sure the kids who were supposed to receive a bike still got one.
After their story aired on Local 4, Waterman says donations from the community have been pouring in. More than a dozen bikes have been donated to the group since, and a local business owner is offering to repair the damaged truck.