Annual bike drive nets over 150 bikes

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Over 150 bikes were donated from all over the county and surrounding area as Mercer County’s Park Commission and Planning Department hosted their fourth annual Bike Drive for the benefit of the Mercer County Bike Exchange (BEX) and Boys & Girls Club (BGC).

BEX is a volunteer-run organization whose primary objective is to raise funds that support after-school programs at the Mercer County BGC. The non-profit repairs donated bicycles and sells them at modest prices from its Ewing location at Capitol Plaza on Olden Avenue, promoting biking for transportation and pleasure.

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“The annual bike drive is a wonderful example of county government partnering with nonprofits to give back to our community,” said Mercer County Executive Dan Benson in a press release through Mercer County. “I’m grateful to all of the volunteers who made this event a tremendous success, and to all of the generous residents who donated their bikes for a good cause.”

The bike drive was held in April.

Joseph Pizza, acting executive director for the Mercer County Park Commission thanked all the volunteers and participants on “another successful bike drive.”

BEX Volunteer director Ira Saltiel said 50 volunteers support the organization by working in sales, repairing, picking up, and delivering bikes. Tech-savvy volunteers manage the BEX social media and Craigslist postings. Others harvest parts off bikes that are beyond repair.

Since 2009, the Bike Exchange has sold approximately 27,000 bikes, raising $1.6 million dollars for the BGC. During the past several years, they have also donated approximately 300 free bikes annually to youth in Trenton and other urban areas throughout New Jersey.

Interested BGC teens get training in bike repairs. Some of the teens, who are learning how to rehabilitate bikes, volunteered their time at the Bike Drive by helping donors unload bikes from their vehicles, handing out informational materials, and loading donated bikes onto Bike Exchange trailers at the end of the day.

“Over 15 BEX volunteers and four interns from the Boys & Girls Club helped with the Mercer County bike drive this year,” Saltiel said. “The quality of the bikes this year was amazing and the 150 bikes donated will result in over $18,000 in sales, all going directly to the Boys and Girls Club. It was a hugely successful event.”

For information on Mercer County Park Commission parks and trails, visit https://www.mercercounty.org/departments/mercer-county-park-commission/recreation-events/passive-recreation.

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