Local organization recycles bikes, promotes alternative transportation
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 00:03
When Nick Hein came across a 10-year-old boy struggling to ride an outdated bicycle, it got him thinking.
Hein repaired the bike for the boy and later came up with the idea for Positive Spin, a bicycle recycling nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Morgantown citizens who walk, bike, bus and carpool.
"After spending a couple of nights in my garage working on the bike, I thought, ‘There are probably other kids who could benefit from this,’ " Hein said.
Now, Positive Spin offers a variety of bike education outreach programs and transportation advocacy efforts.
"We’re not just a bike shop. We support all forms of sustainable transportation, and at the grassroots level. We do whatever it takes to get people to use cars less, while having fun and being safe at the same time," Hein said.
Hein has continued to use his passion for cycling to help others, collecting more than 200 bikes for New Orleans residents in need of transportation following Hurricane Katrina.
His main efforts aren’t only to help others, but to better the environment.
"In order to avoid a global climate disaster, you’ve got to do it now, and you’ve got to have a worldwide effort. Why not start with Morgantown?" Hein said.
Positive Spin receives approximately 1,000 bikes in donations per year.
Many are repaired to provide alternative transportation to locals, while the rest are shipped overseas where affordable basic transportation is needed.
Bikes that can’t be repaired are stripped for usable parts, and the remaining scrap metal is recycled.
Hein said 85 percent of all trips are less than five miles away, but only 3 percent of those trips are made via bicycles.
"Most trips made in the Morgantown area could be sustainable for biking, but people still choose to drive," he said. "Thirty percent of an average city’s traffic is just driving kids back and forth to school."
During the mid-sixties, more than half of all students walked or biked to school. Today, more than 50 percent ride to school in private automobiles, according to the Positive Spin website.
Positive Spin teaches bike safety classes and suggests safe school routes in an attempt to decrease those numbers.
"We want kids and adults to know that this can be a safe, dependable and fun way of transportation," Hein said.
Hein said by reaching out to local children and their families, he hopes to make a positive change for the future.
"We’re in this for the long term. When you get kids on bikes between the ages of 5 and 10, there’s a strong chance they’ll continue it into their adult life," he said. "In 10 years, these kids will be living with transportation issues and will be the decision makers and know cyclists have the right to be on the road. It’s just the choice that makes the most sense."
For more information on the services offered by Positive Spin, visit www.positivespin.org.