Applewood will host bicycle donation drive to benefit after-school program


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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – While he continues to participate in distance bicycling events, an 87-year-old resident of the Applewood continuing care retirement community in Freehold Township is helping to sponsor a bicycle donation drive that will benefit an after-school program.

A bicycle donation drive will take place on Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Applewood, 1 Applewood Drive (off Gully Road), Freehold Township. Co-hosting the event is Applewood resident Spencer Halper.

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Residents of all communities are welcome to donate a bicycle or bicycles. All of the donated bicycles will be refurbished and sold by Bike Exchange, Ewing Township, a bicycle shop associated with after-school programs run by the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) of Mercer County.

According to the BGC, all proceeds from Bike Exchange are used to sponsor programs for Mercer County residents between the ages of 5 through 18. Bike Exchange also promotes cycling for low-income families.

Halper said the refurbished bicycles are sold at “reasonable” prices.

Halper, who has been a resident of Freehold Township for three years, previously resided in Marlboro and Monroe Township. After retiring as a sales and marketing executive, Halper pursued exercise through running when he was 49.

When a foot problem prevented him from continuing to run, Halper said he took up cycling at age 71.

“I bought myself a used bicycle and I enjoyed it,” he said. “I enjoy the exercise and it keeps me in good shape. I feel I’m healthier. It’s good for the heart, good for the whole body.”

Now 87, Halper continues to participate in distance cycling while also lifting weights at the CentraState Fitness and Wellness Center, which he said helps strengthen his bones. When he turned 85, Halper celebrated by cycling for 85 miles.

“Between Applewood and cycling, there are two different worlds I live in,” Halper said. “When I cycle, I’m with younger groups.”

Although the Nov. 13 event will mark the first time Applewood is holding a donation drive for Bike Exchange, Halper has been helping to raise funds for the BGC for 11 years. He said about 23,000 bicycles have been refurbished and $1.3 million has been raised for the program.

According to the BGC, 97% of the students who participate in the program’s activities graduate from high school and 80% of the students applied to college and other post-secondary educational institutions.

Halper thanked Applewood’s directors for helping to support the BGC and the students it serves.

“I appreciate that Applewood is sponsoring this,” he said.

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