Baker College of Flint Partners with C-A Schools, Bike Shop To Promote Active Living

August 02, 2013

$1,000 grant pedals community bike project forward

Community Bike Project
These used bikes await restoration by a volunteer repair team.
Community Bike Project
Maureen Miller with Baker College of Flint created the Community Bike Project to promote active living habits and for kids to enjoy the experience of biking, no matter their families’ financial situations.
Community Bike Project
A display at Baker College of Flint promotes the new Community Bike Project founded by Maureen Miller, director of health & fitness and student clubs coordinator at Baker College of Flint.

Baker College of Flint has partnered with Assenmacher’s Cycling Centers and Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools (C-A) to sponsor the Community Bike Project. Volunteers will restore and repair donated bicycles and provide them to C-A students who are unable to afford them.

The service project received a $1,000 grant from Safe and Active Genesee for Everyone (SAGE) to be used primarily for bike replacement parts. SAGE is an initiative that promotes safe opportunities for physical activity in Genesee County.

Bike Project Coordinator Maureen Miller, Director of Health & Fitness and Student Clubs Coordinator at Baker College of Flint, said that the partners hope to collect enough bicycles to keep a volunteer repair crew active through the winter, and then donate the bicycles to C-A students in the spring. If successful, the program could be expanded to include additional school districts.

Bikes will be collected through the summer and fall at bike drives and at an October bike fair. Miller has already received 13 bikes. A crew of 12 volunteers is set to repair those bikes this month.

Miller explained that donated bikes of any condition are welcome, and volunteers for the repair team will be instructed by professionals at Assenmacher’s. No experience is necessary.

Interested volunteers should attend a project meeting 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Baker College of Flint Student Center, 1050 W. Bristol Road.

Miller immediately thought of a bike-recycling program when Baker President Dr. Julianne T. Princinsky suggested that a SAGE grant could be used to encourage fitness.

“I knew of similar projects in larger cities, and took the idea to Matt Assenmacher, owner of Assenmacher’s Cycling Centers,” Miller said. “His enthusiasm led me to apply for the grant. We just want all kids, even those whose families can’t afford bikes, to enjoy the experience of biking.”

Assenmacher’s enthusiasm and family-owned bike shops in Flint and Grand Blanc make him a perfect partner for Baker College. In addition to helping train volunteers to make the repairs, he will loan many of the tools needed for the repairs. “Those who volunteer for the repair team will become quite skilled,” Miller said. “This is an excellent learning opportunity for C-A middle and high school students who we’ll begin to recruit when school resumes in the fall.”

Miller expects many Baker College student groups will get involved and hold a bike drive or support the repair team. “One group, the African American Students for Advancement (AASA), has already committed to collect bikes this summer,” she said. “We encourage anyone in the community to help collect bikes and to join our repair team. Learning how to repair bikes will be part of the fun.”

The Genesee County C-A school district was selected as a partner because of its students’ needs and Baker’s relationship and past partnerships with the schools. About 70 percent of C-A students qualify for free or discounted lunches.

“Carman-Ainsworth is excited to be able to provide bicycles to some of our families and the opportunity to engage in a no-cost, healthy, family activity,” said Dave Swierpel, C-A director of community services.

*Free bike fair October 12*
The partners will host a free community bike fair, Saturday, Oct. 12, at the C-A Middle School, 1409 W. Maple Avenue, Flint. Activities include:

  • Winterization workshop
  • Lessons on basic bicycle maintenance, such as tightening handlebars and chains and changing tires
  • Bicycle safety presentations
  • Bicycle rodeo that teaches the skills and precautions to ride a bike safely
  • Information about local bicycle paths, provided by representatives from the Flint Department of Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Flint River Trail, Michigan Mountain Biking Association, and SAGE
  • Drawings for prizes and giveaways for those who donate a bicycle

For more information about donating a bicycle or volunteering for the repair team, contact Miller or call 810.766.8752.  

The Baker College System