Archive

Penn Middle school student wants to steer bikes to disadvantaged kids | TribLIVE.com
News

Penn Middle school student wants to steer bikes to disadvantaged kids

Aaron Sloan wants to create a new life cycle for old bikes.

As a service project to help celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Penn Middle School seventh-grader is organizing a bicycle drive next week so that idle rides can hit the streets again.

Children's bikes will go the Braddock-based Red Lantern Bike Shop, which refurbishes damaged or unused bikes before giving them to impoverished children at no cost.

The adult bikes will head to Free Ride Pittsburgh, a do-it-yourself maintenance workshop in Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood.

Penn Township officials gave Sloan's family permission to use the former PTARC/Shelley Proskin Recreation Center as the collection point from April 9 to 11. The bikes will be kept inside until representatives of the two organizations pick them up, so the donation drive will happen rain or shine.

Sloan, who turned 13 in February, is an avid rider who frequently straps on a helmet for family outings on the many rails-to-trails paths in the region.

“People that don't have a bike or can't afford one, I want them to be able to have a bike so they can have the fun that I have when I ride,” said Sloan, whose family is giving three bikes away.

Sloan, who attends Temple David in Monroeville, is doing the drive as a tzedakah, or charity, project. It's not required as part of bar mitzvah preparations, but it reinforces that the commandments he is observing include a responsibility to the community, said his mother, Robin Sloan.

“It's a very special ceremony. It's a very special moment, and in addition to it being very special to him, he wanted to give back to the community, too,” she said.

Free Ride Pittsburgh, a nonprofit located in space near the Construction Junction materials-reuse retailer, provides an open shop setting in which people can borrow tools and learn from their peers, said Scott Gibson, a group volunteer since 2001.

Some people sign up for volunteer hours to earn a bike through “sweat equity,” he said.

“We've literally put thousands of bikes back on the street to people who want to own their own at no cost,” Gibson said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2363 or [email protected].


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.