Bikes for everyone

When 12-year-old Robbie Bozin saw the red Specialized Hot Rock hybrid bicycle, he knew it had to be his.

"I love it," he said. "It's a very cool bike. It looked my size and I wanted a very nice bike."

Bozin was one of eight boys selected from the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada to participate in a program where they restore abandoned bikes.

"I think it's a good program not just because the kids get bikes, but they learn maintenance," said Bryce Alstead, the program coordinator. "Something breaks on their bike and they don't necessarily have to go to the bike shop. They can do it on their own. They go from not being able to change a tire to being able to rework the gear system."

The bikes are donated by the Carson City Sheriff's Department after they have been stolen or lost or taken as evidence and not claimed after 60 days.

Bruce Mackey, a bicycle safety education officer from the state department of public safety, started the program last year and is continuing it this week.

"First of all, you make use of something that's been refuse," he said. "Second of all, all these guys get bike safety training from me. "

Each participant will receive a helmet, lock, sunglasses and a reflective T-shirt.

Dustin Boothe, a bicycle mechanic, volunteers his time to teach the kids how to assemble and repair the bikes.

"It's fun," he said. "I am an avid bicyclist and I do my own repairs at home."

James Reiter, 13, participated in the program last year and came back again this year.

"It was really good," he said. "I leaned tons of stuff about bikes like how to tighten the brakes and the gears."

The participants will get together on Friday for a pizza party and a group bike ride.

They will repair about 20 bikes and the extras will be distributed to other members of the boys and girls club.


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