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Bronzeville group collecting 500 bicycles to donate to local kids

May 13, 2014|By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas | RedEye

Got a bicycle (or just a few bike parts) that you haven't used in years? Angela Ford wants it.

Ford, a Bronzeville native, is spearheading an effort to give 500 bicycles away to neighborhood kids this month, and she needs at least 100 more by Saturday to hit her goal.

The project, called the Bronzeville Bike Builder, is being organized by the TAG Foundation, an organization that promotes affordable housing and community development. Ford, who serves as executive director, said the idea came to her a little more than a year ago when she moved back to the South Side neighborhood where she grew up and was dismayed to see very few children riding bikes--one of her main sources of entertainment and exercise growing up.

"The goal is to get a new generation on bicycles," she said.

Ford said the organization is taking all donations, from fully assembled bikes to recycled bicycle parts, and giving them to Working Bikes, a South Side nonprofit that will fix them up. The bikes will be given away to children ages 5-13 on May 24 at Phillips High School on East Pershing Road.

Donors can drop off their bicycles through May 17 at the 2nd District Police Station at 5101 S. Wentworth Ave. or the 3rd Ward Alderman's Office at 5046 S. State St. Ford said the project will help local parents overcome the cost of buying bicycles for their children. About 200 families have contacted her requesting bicycles so far.

"A lot of families, if they have three children and can't buy three bikes, they don't buy any," she said. "We're tackling that, so all three can receive a bike and just start pedaling."

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