We’re recognizing our most outstanding partners and clients from FY22 (Summer 2021 – Spring 2022) through a series of videos. Below are our amazing community partners that we’d like to recognize.
Raritan Bike Train | It’s been five years since Joe and Colleen Kempe introduced Somerset County’s first Bike Train in Raritan, and it keeps gaining momentum. In a bike train, students and parents bike along a pre-determined route between home and school, often picking up other students at various “stops” along the way. The Kempe’s started the bike train in September 2016 with two students. Since then, it has grown to 15+ regular participants and is now a part of JFK School’s student drop-off and pick-up procedures.
“My wife and I established a route and we started to invite students we knew who lived along the way,” Kempe said. The first bike train ride consisted of one parent and two students riding along a 2-mile route to JFK Primary School. By the spring of 2017, the Tuesday bike train grew to 20 participants prompting one parent to comment, “We’ll need a bigger bike rack.” Five years later, the Raritan Bike Train is still going strong, providing a fun and active way for students to get to school. The next time you see the bike train in Raritan, Joe says, “roll down your window and say hey, or just throw a thumbs up. Our biggest goal is to make the day a little brighter for the students at JFK.”
Pops Bike Shop | In 2021, RideWise and Pops Bike Shop in Somerville launched a new bicycle rehabilitation program, BikeConnect, for adults who need reliable transportation for employment. The program is a partnership between the two businesses, with RideWise soliciting bicycle donations from the community and paying for the repairs made by Pops. Owner Marc Cianfrone and his team thoroughly inspect and tune up the donated bikes, which are outfitted with a bell and lights to comply with New Jersey biking law, along with a helmet and bicycle lock. Bike recipients also receive instruction in cycling safety from RideWise as part of the donation.
Pops is a local family-owned business with locations in Bound Brook and Somerville. Pops prides itself on meeting customers’ needs, ranging from family riders to commuters to cycling enthusiasts and racers. “I thought it was a great, worthwhile venture to work with RideWise on,” said Marc. “We are always looking for ways to help the community, and it shows how bikes can be a transportation alternative.”
South Bound Brook Police, Somerville YMCA, Officer Vito Spadea & Officer Nicole DeBiase, Somerville Police | RideWise has provided bicycle and pedestrian safety education to school-aged children throughout Somerset County since 2004. Children are taught the importance of physical activity, how to bike and walk safely, and how they don’t always need a car to travel.
In August 2021, RideWise and the South Bound Brook Police taught a bicycle rodeo, an on-bike obstacle course that teaches safe cycling skills, as part of National Night Out.
The Somerville YMCA partnered with RideWise in October of 2021, to offer a free youth bike skills clinic that was open to members. The YMCA continues to offer bicycle and pedestrian education through RideWise. More than 40 students learned how to get to and from school safely by participating in safe walking events in April and June of 2022.
Honorable mention goes to Officer Vito Spadea and Officer Nicole DeBiase of the Somerville Borough Police who rewarded kids for using crosswalks and riding their bikes with helmets in June 2022. The program, called SummerVilleSafe, incentivizes children who demonstrate good sense and safety while walking or biking. Children received coupons for food, snacks or desserts from participating businesses in Somerville.