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Fall Bike Clinics

Emily Tveite, University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI

This fall we’re offering two outreach events to serve and bless our campus community. Twice during the fall, we’re sponsoring a free bike repair clinic, at which trained bike mechanics will offer tune ups.  Our first event was held in mid-September. We had two bike mechanics and about 40 students brought their bikes to be repaired.  All services and parts (as long as we had them available) were offered free of charge. The bike mechanics offered their time as a gift to our community.

In addition to the repairs, we also welcomed Wisconsin Bike Federation, who distributed information about biking safely in the city.  One student walked right up to the table and told the volunteer, “Hi, I’m from the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. I have no idea how to bike around here.” The Bike Fed volunteer gave her information about bike safety rules and regulations, how to safely cross busy intersections, and a map of local bike trails and roads with bike lanes.

We also offered students who had bicycle helmets free “Bicycle Benefits” stickers. These stickers must be affixed to a helmet and are accepted at many local shops and restaurants and offer discounts when presented.  Hopefully we will see more students wearing their helmets soon.

This project, and the second Bike Clinic scheduled for October, was graciously funded by a Thrivent Action Team grant.  Trek Bicycles graciously provided the supplies needed for the clinic at below wholesale prices. We’re already planning another series of Bike Clinics for next fall.  Ideas for expanding the events include providing free helmets, which we may be able to obtain through a grant from American Family Insurance, and also sponsoring group rides that would be led by Wisconsin Bike Federation and would teach city bike safety skills.

St. Teresa of Avila once wrote, “God is in the pots and pans of life.” We agree that God is in the mundane and ubiquitous – God’s blessings are shown each day as students travel safely to class on bikes that have working brakes and gear shifts.  We are confident that God is blessing UW-Madison through these events.

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