Bike Windsor-Essex to make Wrench-Up! program permanent

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A pilot program aimed at helping young people learn to maintain and repair their bikes is being made permanent by Bike Windsor-Essex.

The Wrench-Up! program was launched in 2019 thanks to a $75,000 pilot project grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Bike Windsor-Essex has been working with organizations and groups by offering young people and staff a chance to receive free training, tools and a guide book on how to repair your bike. 

The aim is to not only teach mechanical skills but also to meet the needs of local youth experiencing poverty or barriers to safe transportation through partnerships with organizations that provide services to those youth.

Executive Director of Bike Windsor-Essex, Lori Newton says she is excited to move forward with this program.

"We've seen a huge upsurge in the number of people riding bikes on the street. We have refurbished bikes available at the Bike Kitchen, its important to provide opportunities and accessibility for people who can't afford a brand new bike and to provide education for people to know how to ride and know how to obey the rules of the road and why they're there," she says.

Newton says says despite the initial grant being over, the program will continue being funded in other ways.

She says they won't be able to fund tool kits but they can find other ways later in the programs life to source those materials. 

"We're very resourceful and very creative, a lot of the funding may come out of what we earn when we refurbish bicycles and sell them. We'll be looking for funding through the organizations that we partner with, we can find a way that's not overly expensive just to cover the cost of our staff," says Newton.

She says there are many ways to get involved with the program and despite not having any programs currently running, they are looking into having some in the upcoming months.

"We typically organize programs and courses for the general public. They can also come in and they can put their bicycle on one of our stands, use our tools and rely on help from our staff, who are professional and fix their own bikes right there," adds Newton.

In addition to training on how to repair and maintain a bike, Newton says the program will also teach young people where it's safe to ride and the rules of the road.  

For more information on the Wrench-Up! program, visit bikewindsoressex.com.