Know your nonprofits: Revolutions Bicycle Co-op

Revolutions Bicycle Co-op is making it easy for anyone in Memphis to get pedaling. Adding to their existing bike maintenance and repair workshops and scheduled group rides, the nonprofit has recently launched a program to help seniors stay mobile...on three wheels.
Trikes are not just for tykes. Sylvia Crum has added a new dimension, and a third wheel, to the bicycle ministry at First Congregational Church in Midtown.
 
Sylvia Crum, Executive Director of Revolutions Bicycle Co-op, is revved up to get more Memphians on bicycles. The organization offers workshops where people can come to learn how to keep their bikes in good running order. They also help people learn to ride. In doing the latter, Crum schedules group rides to get people safely out on the street. Revolutions also provides bicycle safety training for children and will launch a special “ride to school” program at Peabody Elementary in the spring of 2016.
 
Biking to dinner and touring neighborhoods on bikes are some of the ways the nonprofit organization tries to encourage people to use their bikes as a regular mode of transportation.
 
Crum has instigated an extension of the nonprofit’s ministry aimed at giving seniors more mobility. The newly launched pilot program is designed to get seniors rolling, giving them a new way to get out and about and enjoy life. This new offering began when Crum worked with the city’s Division of Parks and Neighborhoods to purchase 10 adult tricycles. The one-gear trikes have both hand brakes and foot brakes, as well as a wide wheel base for stability. 
 
“Generally, seniors have limited opportunities to get out and get moving,” said Crum. “This type of outing gets them out in the fresh air, provides them with non-strenuous exercise and allows them to socialize with others.”
 
Through this program, Crum is seeking to work with senior community centers and residential life centers to have them bring groups of seniors to Overton Park. At the beginning of each ride, Crum and her volunteers meet the seniors at the Abe Goodman Golf House on the east side of Overton Park to get them settled on their adult-sized tricycles. The riders break into smaller groups of six to eight people to begin their trek, following their guides down the paved pathways through the Old Forest portion of the park.
 
“Some of the seniors we’ve worked with are able to ride without our assistance,” said volunteer Gary Thompson. “Others need a little help. That’s where our volunteers lend a hand. We walk or ride beside the folks who need encouragement. On our very first ride we had a woman who was 105 years old — she was amazing!”
 
But Thompson says, once the seniors get comfortable on their three-wheelers he often gets requests to extend the ride time. Depending on the riders’ skill level, a route typically takes 20 to 40 minutes.
 
For more information about Revolutions Bicycle Co-op, visit their website. And if you are interested in being a volunteer, visit Volunteer Memphis to see a list of available opportunities. 

Read more articles by Emily Adams Keplinger.

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