NORFOLK, Neb. - Having their own set of wheels is the dream of many people.
For many in Third World countries, it’s not even a matter of a car or truck. Having a bicycle would be a huge convenience for their daily lives.
The Norfolk-based Orphan Grain Train is trying to help with that need by collecting and repairing bicycles to be shipped to people around the world.
“We get a lot of requests for bicycles. For some people, it’s their only means of transportation, ” said Suzie Leffers, the Orphan Grain Train’s director of public relations.
Late last summer, the Orphan Grain Train office in Norfolk gave notice through church bulletins and other means that it was beginning to collect bicycles, said Doug Trampe, who manages the Orphan Grain Train’s warehouse.
“We had a few bicycles ... and some money to buy tools,” Trampe said.
A call also went out for volunteers to help refurbish donated vehicles. Doug Fink and Jeff Ronnfeldt responded and now man the small bicycle repair shop located in the Grain Train warehouse.
“I retired last year and needed something to do,” said Fink, who worked at Vulcraft.
So far, around 60 bikes have been donated, and 10 have already been sent to Haiti, Trampe said. The next shipment will go to Managua, Nicaragua.
The size, style and brand of the bike isn’t important, Trampe said.
During the restoration process, most of the donated bikes will be repainted, receive new tires and seats and cables, Fink said.
Nick Meyer with Cleveland Bikes in Norfolk has donated some of the supplies, Trampe said.
These aren’t the first bikes shipped by the Norfolk division of the Orphan Grain Train, Trampe said. In the past, prisoners in the Kansas prison system refurbished bikes for the organization, but those are now being shipped through the Orphan Grain Train’s Grand Island division.
People who want to donate bikes can deliver them to the Orphan Grain Train warehouse at 606 W. Phillip Ave., in Norfolk. For information, call 402-371-7393. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.