Charity that restores bikes for kids sees donations continue despite pandemic

EDMONTON — From the outside it’s a bland concrete building along Wayne Gretzky Drive just north of 118th Avenue, but step inside this Sport Central shop, and you’ll find a cornucopia of bicycle wheels, seats, chains and frames filling every centimetre of space.

Also filling the rafters and walls, waiting to be distributed out to any family or child in need, is hundreds of bikes Sports Central’s hardworking and greasy volunteers have fixed or completely rebuilt. 

Jim Harvey

“We’re always glad to receive donated bikes. We can’t get them out if we don’t get them in,” said Jim Harvey, the bike program manager.

Earlier this week, two dozen more bicycles showed up at their back door after city centre mall cleared out its stockpile of abandoned machines.

“These are bikes that have been mostly abandoned or never picked up again from racks on a commercial property so they tend to be more adult sized bikes, but there were a few kids bikes,” Harvey said while tightening and oiling a chain.

Sports Central

They will add to the more than 3,000 bikes that are processed yearly by a small team of mostly seniors who volunteer.

“To my surprise we are actually up a little bit in terms of bikes coming in this year. I put it down to everybody having more time on their hands this spring to do spring cleaning!”

Sport Central also rebuilds bicycles for the Emmanuel Foundation which provides shipping for bikes to Central America and Africa. 

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