(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — When a neighborhood bicycle program in upstate New York had more than a hundred of its bikes stolen, the community revved up and replaced them with three times as many.
Conkey Cruisers in Rochester, New York, is a program that encourages people to ride bicycles during the summer. If they complete the program, participants, who are from ages 2 to 88 this year, earn a brand new bicycle, helmet and bike lock.
However, a major theft last month left Conkey Cruisers without enough bikes. The bikes were stolen from mobile storage unites on a trail where the program operates on.
“We wanted to make sure that [on] July 13 we were ready to roll, but we were robbed of a great deal of our bicycles,” Conkey Cruisers captain Theresa Bowick told ABC News on Friday. “We lost about 150.”
In an effort to replace the stolen bikes, Bowick organized a bike drive last Thursday. And she said she was shocked by how the community responded.
“When we reached out to our community for a bike drive, we ended up with a sea of bicycles,” Bowick said. “Every two to three minutes, my phone is ringing with someone wanting to donate bicycles.”
By Friday afternoon, Bowick said they had collected 427 bikes, about three times the number stolen from Conkey Cruisers.
“The community’s response was just phenomenal,” Bowick said.
The Rochester Police Department did not respond to several requests for comment about the investigation into the stolen bikes. Bowick said police were still investigating the theft.
Nevertheless, Bowick said she forgives whover stole the Conkey Cruisers bikes.
“I just want to ensure that the people that did this know I love them and that our program is open to them,” she said. “We’re just extremely sorry that life’s circumstances led them to a place in which they had to make a decision like this to rob a free neighborhood program of bicycles.”
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