RIVERTON, Utah – An Eagle Scout in Riverton was on a deadline to find new homes for more than 500 bikes that he helped collect for a local non-profit, and thanks to some help from the community that deadline was met.
Braxton Byrge collected more than 500 bikes for an Eagle Scout project in March, and he did so to honor the memory of his father Brian Byrge and family friend John Coons; the two men died when they were hit by a car while biking to work together a little over a year ago.
“I felt like my dad was proud that we accomplished a pretty incredible thing for our two families, and it was something else,” Braxton said of their efforts.
The donated bikes went to the Bicycle Collective of Salt Lake City, which is a group that has been refurbishing used bikes one at a time and giving them to people in need since 2002. Their recipients include kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and refugees who are establishing new lives in Utah.
But Braxton’s donation was so big, it created a small problem.
“We didn't have anywhere to put them,” said David Davis, who is the director of the Bicycle Collective.
A developer donated a warehouse to hold Braxton’s bikes with the caveat that everything had to be out by May 1, so Davis and the collective put out a plea.
“Now what we need is community members to come in and help us tune up all those bikes,” Davis said at the time.
May 1 has come and gone, and so have Braxton’s bikes. The project was completed with the help of volunteers, and some of those who helped were FOX 13 News viewers who saw our previous coverage of the story.
Many of Braxton's bikes went to kids who couldn't afford one. Others went to adults, like Susan Blake.
“It's my brand-new bike, which I get to go home with today,” she said.
She earned it through one of the collective's programs by putting in volunteer hours. First at Deseret Industries, then at the collective.
“I volunteered more hours to get a better bike,” she said.
Blake said the bicycle will be her primary source of transportation to and from work until she can afford a car.
“It's not really about the bike,” Davis said of their efforts. “The bike is a tool that helps them achieve the goals that they need to achieve in their life, but it's about these individual people who take an opportunity and run with it.”