Freewheelin’ Community Bikes


Getting your first bicycle is one of life’s milestones for most people. Most of us can remember the day it happened. But for some families, there just aren’t the resources to purchase a bike. That’s where Freewheelin’ Community Bikes comes in. Freewheelin’ offers an “Earn-a-bike” program in which kids, aged 8-18, participate in an eight week training program learning how to repair and maintain a bike. Upon completion, they receive a quality bike. Along the way, they acquire mechanical skills and mentoring from leaders who have previously completed the course. Lessons about leadership, accountability and perseverance are by-products of the program. Many stay with the program enhancing their mechanical skills.

Freewheelin’ also conducts twice-weekly cycling tours of Indianapolis. In 2011 they took a week-long trip to Cincinnati and hope to offer another long trip soon. They are also getting into training for competitive bike racing.

The program was started by Nancy Stimson in 2007 at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. In 2011, they had enough bikes, bike parts and attendant stuff that the fire marshal made them move out. They found a location diagonally across the street at 3355 Central Ave and moved the program there. This allowed them to open a retail store offering quality reconditioned bikes along with parts and accessories. Any profits help to support the program.

Do you have an old bike collecting dust in the back of your garage? Freewheelin’ is a good place to recycle it (pun intended). The best of these donated bikes are fixed up and offered for sale. Others are used to develop the repair skills of the trainees. What can’t be fixed is sold as scrap. They proudly point out that nothing ever goes to a landfill.

Many miles of bicycle lanes have been designated in Indianapolis and many more are in the plans. Biking has become a reasonable and environmentally friendly way to get around. It isn’t just for kids riding around the neighborhood anymore. It’s clean, cheap and gives you exercise in the process. Freewheelin’ is helping encourage this important resurgence in biking and helping a lot of kids at the same time.

Contact: Nancy Stimson 3355 N Central Ave Indianapolis, IN 46205 (317) 429-7973 Freewheelin Community Bikes

Article submitted by: Richard Clough SI 2016 Regional Coordinator, Indianapolis