Local bike shop partners with city on free program to fix and give away bikes

Take a peek in the windows of Alpine Cycles and the recent spike in the popularity of bicycles is immediately apparent.

"We have very few bikes left. Typically, there are hundreds in our showroom. Now there are only a couple dozen. It’s all because of COVID," says John Eppley, general manager of Alpine Cycles.

"And that’s not just here. That’s everywhere."

Business shutdowns and rules of social distancing have forced people to find new ways to entertain themselves. Outdoor activities have become increasingly popular over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it’s not just bikes. Eppley says that everything is selling out, from the bicycles to the skateboards.

While brand new bikes may be hard to come by this summer, Alpine Cycles, the Port Huron Parks and Recreation Department, and the Port Huron Police Department have partnered together on a number of programs to get a set of two wheels under the feet of as many a Port Huronite as they can.

The first program is Alpine Cycles at the Park. Alpine Cycles can be found at a city park every Monday and Wednesday for the rest of July. There they’ll be offering free bicycle safety checks and tune-ups. Just show up, bring an old bike over, and pedal away.

"We want to keep people excited about bikes. Like the free check-ups. We do those for free at the shop. But people might not come in the shop so now we’re out in the parks," Eppley says.

"They can see what we do and get a good impression. We want to make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves."

The program, in partnership with Parks and Rec, is next scheduled for Monday, July 20, at Sixteenth and Dove Park.

A second program, this time involving the PHPD, will put refurbished bicycles into the hands of area youth. Details on the dates are forthcoming.

"The Port Huron Police Department was approached by the Port Huron Parks and Recreation Department asking us if we were willing to donate the bicycles we end up confiscating that end up in our property room. Some of these bikes are never reclaimed by the rightful owner and end up being auctioned," says Captain Marcy Kuehn of the PHPD.

"Some bicycles are in rough shape and in need of repairs. When Parks and Rec told us they were partnering with Alpine Cycles to have the bikes refurbished first we were happy to oblige.

"Alpine Cycles has donated repairs on all our police bicycles for many years. They are a great community partner and do fantastic work. This program is a win-win for us. We were happy to hear local kids would be benefiting from this program."

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