AURORA, Colo. – For more than a decade, Second Chance Bikes has been rebuilding old broken down bicycles and giving them to less fortunate children and adults across the state.
Now, the nonprofit needs some help of their own.
The shopping center where they are now is set to be torn down as part of a redevelopment plan — which means they are going to have to go.
Founder Ernie Clark and a handful of volunteers are at the shop every day, and every day they are working to give discarded bicycles of every size and every color a second chance.
Ernie Clark (credit: CBS)
“This room here is our bicycle holding room in here we get all these bicycles. First thing we do is see if the tires are up,” Clark said as he gave CBS4 reporter Karen Morfitt a tour of the shop.
Clark is a retired police officer from New Jersey who started working on bicycles 16 years ago.
“If somebody told me then ‘Ernie, you’re going to be doing bicycles.’ I’d look at them and go you’re crazy,” he said.
On Wednesday, the shop worked with more than a dozen community groups to get refurbished bicycles into the hands of those who need them the most.
“We get calls from social services, from the police department. A lot of them are the schools,” he said.
Tony Medina, a veteran representative for the Colorado Department of Labor and Environment, began working with Ernie in 2015.
“Those bicycles provided motivation, instilled ownership, made it possible to make that job interview, be on time to work, keep that medical appointment,” Medina aid.
The shop has already moved a number of times over the years working out of basements, a garage, and now a shopping center in Aurora.
Property owners let them stay rent free – until it was time to break ground on redevelopment plans.
“It’s not just us moving. Everybody has to move out of here, and we can’t pay the rent,” Clark said.
With nowhere to go, the future of second chance bikes is unclear, but Clark and his team are not letting that uncertainty slow them down.
“I don’t want to give this up. It’s a good program. We have lots of fun in here you know?” Clark said.
The City of Aurora helped line this place up for Clark, and they are now helping in this search so he can continue his work in the community.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.