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Got a bike? Donate it to help the homeless—here's how it works.

Got a bike? Donate it to help the homeless—here's how it works.
Photograph: Courtesy Rotelli Cyclery

The Arts District bicycle boutique Rotelli Cyclery has a big idea. They want to donate 200 specially-designed bikes to the Skid Row Housing Trust to create a bike-share program to help individuals break out of long-term homelessness. They call the campaign “Give a bike, change a life.”

The simple idea of making bikes available for use has broad implications for those in need. A bike can represent a way to travel to a job, get to medical care and access city resources—all vital things, and all so easy for those who have a means of transportation to take for granted. Biking also offers physical and mental wellness benefits to a community where both are rare.

Rotelli Cyclery has set up an Indiegogo page to help crowd-fund the project. They are seeking $50,000 to fully fund the project, as well as donations of used bikes.

Robert Rotello, the craftsman owner of Rotelli Cyclery, designed a special bike for the project which he named the Trust Bike. It is a simple single-speed commuter bike, built for function, durability and ease of maintenance. Once the bikes are rolled out, the Rotelli team will be teaching bike maintenance classes at the Skid Row Housing Trust to empower the residents to care for their own cycles.

In addition to the Indiegogo campaign, Rotelli will also be donating a bike to the Skid Row Housing Trust for each bike they sell—and the ones they sell are lovely. The shop creates bespoke bikes built off of repurposed vintage steel frames and invites customers to come to their workshop to customize details and take classes from skilled mechanics. 

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