Police, church team up to give people a ride

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Law enforcement and a church are teaming up to give people rides around town.

The program gives bikes to people who can’t afford one, and it’s growing.

“I guess we’ll start with the front one then,” said Jeff Johnson, a retired bicycle repairman who now volunteers at Life Cycle in the basement of the New Life Community Church.

It’s Johnson’s job to make a ride out of rubble.

“Some things don’t cooperate sometimes,” he said. “We take bikes that are donated and we fix them up.”

Douglas Vogelsong is one of Life Cycle’s customers.

“I lost my license and I don’t drive anymore,” Vogelsong said. “I use the bike to get around.”

If it weren’t for Life Cycle, Vogelsong might be walking to work every day.

“I just worked a couple hours on it and they gave it to me,” he said.

That’s what makes this shop different.

“It could be anywhere from $20 to a $50 bike and then we value people’s time at $10 an hour,” New Life pastor Drew Kalbach said.

“Through earn-a-bike, they can give any form of community service in the church or out in the community,” Kalbach said.

The program was started a year and a half ago to address a lack of accessible transportation in Carlisle. Since then, 180 more people have been put on wheels, thanks to a stockpile of donations that is only getting bigger.

“Quite often, we end up with them. They remain abandoned,” Carlisle police Sgt. David Miller said.

About 50 unclaimed bikes end up at the police department each year. Officers will drop them off to Life Cycle regularly, with the caveat of a fresh paint job.

“Someone sees that bike being ridden and they say, ‘hey that person stole my bike,’ when in reality, that person could have gotten it from Life Cycle,” Kalbach said.

It means steady work for the already-retired repairman, but Johnson is okay with that.

“Bringing them back from basically being a pile of junk to something that’s worth it, and giving that to someone who truly appreciates it, that’s what I really like about doing this,” he said.

Life Cycle is always looking for donations. The shop is in the basement of the New Life Community Church at 64 E North St. in Carlisle.

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