Cyclists in the
Projects on both sides of the
Children have been given bikes which are no longer wanted, and have also benefited from prison programs where inmates refurbish bikes for needy families.
The unit’s Bike Giveaway Program has handed out more than 500 bikes each Christmas for the last three years.
The bike crew’s members work for 60 cents a day for the non-profit program, which started by giving away 25 bikes in 1999 and grew from there.
Crew member Bob Hemphill said he felt lucky to be working on the project. “I have kids and grandkids of my own, so I’ve seen the smiles before.”
They were handed out to children aged three to 16 and came solely from local donations. "We had private donations, anonymous donations. A lot of bikes were brought in. It was a very successful program.
"I think we touched a lot of kids' lives. Hopefully we've made a merrier Christmas for a lot of kids," he added.
Sheriff Andrews had only expected to get about 40 bikes, so was delighted when the total donated reached double his original estimate.
The bikes will be refurbished and used during free cycle safety training provided at local schools and youth groups. Often children can’t take part in the sessions because they don’t have their own bike.
Carol Bracegirdle, of Blackpool Council's travel and road safety team, said: "Cycling is an excellent form of exercise but can be dangerous if cyclists are not aware of the rules of the road and are not taught how to ride safely.
"The fact that people do not have a roadworthy bike should not be a prohibitive factor," she added. "I would urge people who are lucky enough to receive a new bicycle for Christmas to donate their old one to such a worthwhile cause instead of throwing it on to the tip."
The group can also use broken bikes for spare parts, so nothing is wasted.
Prison bike refurbishment programs and council cycle collection schemes are common in both the
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