Friday, February 10 marked International Winter Bike to Work Day, a day when many people bike to work for exercise and enjoyment. In Somerset County, there are many who endure rain, wind, ice, snow and cold to bike to work out of necessity. This need was the inspiration for the creation of our BikeConnect program, which connects residents with a refurbished bike, helping them commute to work. Since July 2021, RideWise has connected 37 residents to bicycles thanks to the generosity of donors from the community.
BikeConnect’s impact is not measured in client referrals or bicycle donations. It’s measured by client success. “This program was life-changing for me,” said Alex, a bicycle recipient. “When I was newly homeless, RideWise helped me get back on my feet with having transportation. I was able to get back on my feet, get a job, and be reunited with my son,” he said. Alex was so grateful for the opportunity the BikeConnect program provided, that he “decided to pay it forward and give my bike to someone else that was homeless and needed it more than me.” Other BikeConnect clients have found employment at the ShopRite of Somerville, the Agape House in Somerville and at local restaurants.
Residents interested in receiving a bike for employment-related transportation need to complete the application and receive a referral from a Somerset County nonprofit organization. To donate a bicycle, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 908-704-1011.