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Bike Swap turns gears in minds of community about healthy riding
by Jessica Garcia
May 22, 2010 | 2930 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Damien Gopen, 14, shows off a double-decker bike fabricated at the Reno Bike Project bicycle shop. Gopen and his family participated in Saturday's Bike Swap in downtown Reno.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Damien Gopen, 14, shows off a double-decker bike fabricated at the Reno Bike Project bicycle shop. Gopen and his family participated in Saturday's Bike Swap in downtown Reno.
RENO – Sgt. George Cholico, a deputy with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department, enjoys an occasional bike ride when he’s out patrolling during special events. On Saturday, he was in need of some oil clean-up off his bike chain to keep it functioning and Ed Jensen from the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology was on hand to fix it for him.

“I love it,” Cholico said. “You have to have a passion for riding bikes because it’s a little different than getting in your patrol car every day. (On a bike), you can get close to the community and talk to people and go in areas you can’t in a car.”

Cholico said the sheriff’s department received a grant that allowed it to purchase two bicycles and while the bikes are still fairly new, Cholico said his had been on the road for a while and was getting dirty.

At the West Street Market in Reno, people like Cholico who needed help getting minor repairs or were interested in buying new bikes had a place downtown to do that at the Reno Bike Project’s first Bike Swap event. Despite the cold weather and snow flurries, a decent crowd showed up to talk to vendors about bikes and upcoming bicycling events such as the Tour de Nez.

Noah Silverman, cofounder of Reno Bike Project, said Bike Swap was the result of the RBP’s attempts to put together a community event with appeal.

“One of our board members finally said we should do something for Earth Day,” he said. “The goal is to bring the community together.”

The non-profit works to encourage people to bike more often for recreation and to go to work. Saturday’s event dovetailed the end of Bike to Work Week.

Rian Meier and Tim Healion were at the event to promote the Tour de Nez event in June this year. It begins on June 17 on Victorian Square with a time trial and will continue June 18 and 19 in downtown Reno and in Northstar.

Meier said the race is usually limited to about 125 so people aren’t hurt. There are usually about 40 to 50 people who use hand cycles if they’re disabled and there are also children’s races.

“We’re expecting more people this year because last year we were still recovering (from the economy),” Meier said.

Healion, who often supports events of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said he bikes every day from his home to work and will also use his bike to go where he’s needed throughout the course of his work day.

Meier, who also rides, said biking “clears the mind” and called it “invigorating.”

Jensen helped his students periodically with their repairs. He said AACT is growing in its engineering and welding program, inviting more young girls to use their hands for fixing things like bikes.

Moreover, he added, Bike Swap was useful not only to teach the students the technical aspects of engineering but to provide service to their city as well.

“We try to teach them the concept that you’re part of the community,” he said. “You can’t be isolated. … So it’s important to be out there and do what you can. And (the students) are doing great.”
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