Last month, dozens of bicycles were stolen from the Conkey Cruisers, a bicycle program in Rochester, New York. So, the local community officials responded to this immediately by giving more than 400 replacements.
Mayor Lovely Warren, the town’s mayor explained, “When somebody meant for evil, you turn it into good. The fact of the matter is we have a community that cares”.
According to ABC News, more than 100 bikes were stolen from the program’s storage unit last June. Because of the incident, the program was no longer capable of providing for all of its members.
In order to recover from the loss, Theresa Bowick, the captain of Conkey Cruisers, asked help from the local community.
She said, “When we reached out to our community for a bike drive, we ended up with a sea of bicycles. Every two to three minutes, my phone is ringing with someone wanting to donate bicycles”. At one point, they were able to gather a total of 427 bikes.
The program has been riding strong since 2012. It has even earned a congressional record award in the same year, as well as a recognition letter from first lady Michelle Obama.
Conkey Cruisers’ aim is to promote a healthy lifestyle through biking. They offer warm-up exercises and games, such as “healthy snack trivia”, which is open to all families.
Program donor Loren Gifford, shared, “For me and my son, a bike represented freedom at a young age, so taking those bikes away was a bad thing to do to a whole bunch of people”.
Although some of the stolen bikes were eventually recovered, others are already in bad shape, which means they are no longer functional. Fortunately, lots of donations poured. Through a GoFundMe campaign, the program has raised $5,000.
Bowick gladly announced that the program will soon be back on track, saying, “We plan to move forward without missing a beat. On July 13, the Conkey Cruisers will sail again.”