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ReCycle pedals for a new life


by: PHOTO: ELLEN SPITALERI - ReCycle founder Gerry Hines attaches a bicycle seat.ReCycle, the bike ministry supported by the Oregon City Evangelical Church, started out six years ago with a simple mission — every child should have a bike.

But now ReCycle has “come full circle,” said Gerry Hines, the founder and bike coordinator for the group. What he means is that the bike ministry now works with other agencies in Clackamas County to supply bikes to adults who need them, and ReCycle also is reaching out to young people who need to do community service.

Folks who are interested in what ReCycle does can come to the church on Sunday, April 7, to an open house for the nonprofit organization. Hines is hoping that visitors might bring along gently used bikes to donate to ReCycle, or make cash donations. That same day he is going before the church members to ask for money to expand the bike ministry, Hines said.

Although Hines founded ReCycle, he said that Al Snell, owner of Oregon City’s Classic Cycles, has been a key factor in the success of the bike ministry.

“He came in here and taught us how to repair bikes, until we’re pretty good. He’s an amazing guy,” Hines said, adding that ReCycle buys needed replacement parts from Classic Cycle at wholesale prices.

Snell moved to Oregon City in 2007 and purchased Classic Cycles, then located in downtown Oregon City. He moved the business to a spot near the Grocery Outlet on Molalla Avenue in early March, partly because the parking situation is better there and also because he is closer to a residential neighborhood in that area.

He found out about the bike ministry when he began attending the Oregon City Evangelical Church, and said what he likes best about working with the group is “teaching the guys how to work on bikes — they have a passion for it and a desire to learn.”

A group of 10 men meet at ReCycle, in a small garage next to the church, the first and second Saturdays to clean and repair the bikes.

“We have a fully functioning bike shop here, and I tell the guys to fix up the bikes to the condition that they would put under the Christmas tree for their own sons or daughters,” Hines said.

ReCycle gave away 67 bikes in 2012, and the organization is definitely in the market for good used bikes for this year, although ReCycle does not accept bikes that have rusted out. Members of the group will go to a residence to pick up a donated bike, Hines noted.

Community outreach

ReCycle has reached out to the community in a number of ways, Hines said, noting that the organization gets referrals from Love INC, a group of 46 churches devoted to helping the needy in Clackamas County. He also works with Celebrate Recovery, an organization that helps people who recently have been released from prison.

“We had one man come in who had been in prison for 31 years. He was totally transformed. We also have people who have lost their licenses, and people who just can’t afford a car in this economy,” Hines said.

Beginning this month, 10 young people from the Clackamas County Juvenile Department’s Community Connections Program will come to ReCycle every Monday.

“We’ll introduce them to bikes, teach them how to build one from the ground up and then sell them. That is how we make our money to buy our bike parts,” Hines said.

Other young people come to ReCycle to do community service, he noted.

Monetary donations are always needed, Hines said, because the organization needs to purchase bike lights, locks and the saddle on the back of the bike, in addition to parts needed for repair. He added that new helmets are provided by a nonprofit organization called Helmets Are Us. None of the helmets are used or donated because there may be cracks or other unsafe factors in those helmets.

Why bikes?

The most rewarding part of the whole ministry is seeing the reactions when people are given their own bikes, Hines said.

“A lady called from Love INC, and told us about a 9-year-old boy who had never had a bike. You should have seen his face when we told him to choose a bike from our stock of children’s bikes. It took him an hour and a half to find the right bike. That was our reward, just seeing his face,” Hines said.

Then there was the time Hines took a bike out to a homeless veteran named Vicky.

“We found a Schwinn woman’s bike, fixed it up and took it out to Vicky. I asked her to close her eyes, and when she opened them and saw the bike, she started crying, then jumped on the bike and rode it around. That makes it fun,” he said.

Snell has his own story as well. He said he has always had a little bike shop in his garage, even before he opened Classic Cycles, and recalls the time he passed by a Dumpster in his neighborhood and saw a little girl’s bike.

“It had a flat tire and a broken chain. I took it out of the Dumpster and fixed it, then knocked on doors until I found her. She was 8 years old, and you should have seen her face when I gave her the bike back,” Snell said.

It was then he knew he wanted his own professional bike shop and the reason the shop’s motto is “all my customers are neighbors.”

Fast Facts

What: ReCycle Open House

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 7

Where: 916 Linn Ave., Oregon City, next door to the Oregon City Evangelical Church

Meet Gerry Hines, bike coordinator for ReCycle, and others, and see what the organization does to provide bikes for those in need in Clackamas County. Monetary donations and donations of gently used bikes greatly appreciated.

For more information, contact Hines at 503-593-1485 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit the website at secondtimearoundbikes.com.

Meet owner Al Snell at Classic Cycles, 812 Molalla Ave., in Oregon City. Classic Cycles is a full-service bike shop. For more information, call 503-557-1977.