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Bike to the Future provides 'life-changing' transportation to community members

Bikes line up on the floor waiting to be repaired inside Bike To The Future's workshop.
Katie Quinn
Volunteers fix up bicycles at Bike to the Future's workshop every Monday and Tuesday morning.

In the parking lot of Community United Methodist Church in Columbia sits a smaller building. As you walk in, two volunteers are inflating tires on a bicycle.

Bikes of all shapes and sizes - and all states of repair or disrepair in some cases - fill the room and tools are scattered across workbenches.

Sid Popejoy is the shop manager for Bike to the Future, and he is busy tightening the brakes on a black Schwinn bicycle.

“Putting new brakes on. [It] is probably the most important part of a bike is the ability to stop,” said Popejoy.

Bike to the Future was started back in 2016 to give out bicycles to community members who don’t have other forms of transportation. Popejoy said the organization has given out one thousand bikes as of early April.

“A lot of them are decent bikes, but a lot of them were not. We will take whatever we can,” said volunteer Tom Schlimpert.

A team of volunteers get together every week to fix the bikes that are donated from community members.

If they have a bicycle, as basic as that is, that improves their life immensely because it cuts hours of getting around.
Sid Popejoy

Katie Quinn: Could you explain to me what Bike to the Future is?

Sid Popejoy: Bike to the Future is associated with Love Columbia, not for profit. We take donated bicycles, we rehabilitate them, we'll put new parts, we lubricate them, fix them up, put lights on them, and make those available to adults that need transportation, just basic transportation.

Katie Quinn: And can you talk a little bit about your organization's mission?

Sid Popejoy: Our mission is to provide basic transportation to people in need. Columbia has a never ending transient population, in part because of where Columbia is located between Kansas City and St. Louis on the interstate.

Katie Quinn: Why is transportation important?

Sid Popejoy sits in a church conference room. He wears glasses and a long sleeve t-shirt.
Katie Quinn
Sid Popejoy is the shop manager for Bike to the Future. He has been with the organization since 2016.

Sid Popejoy: These folks don't have a way to get around, they don't have a way other than walking, to get to the grocery store, to get to a job, to get to a job interview. If they have a bicycle, as basic as that is, that improves their life immensely because it cuts hours of getting around. Rather than taking an hour or two to get downtown. It really literally just takes a few minutes. And it can be life changing for these folks.

Katie Quinn: You know, who's eligible for a bike from Bike to the Future?

Sid Popejoy: Generally speaking, anyone that doesn't have any other type of transportation. Adults, we don't deal with children's bicycles. It's just adult sized bikes. So folks that don't have- if they have a car, they're not eligible. Generally speaking, they have to have a need. Whether they're going to school, maybe even, or going to jobs, going to job interviews, things like that.

Katie Quinn: If I have a bike, how do I donate it?

Sid Popejoy: Well, you can bring it to Community United Methodist Church on a Monday or Tuesday morning. You can email Bike to the Future at biketothefuturemo@gmail.com. You can take it to Love Columbia to the Loveseat and just drop it off, and we'll come and pick it up.

Katie Quinn works for Missouri Business Alert. She studied radio journalism and political science at the University of Missouri- Columbia, and previously worked at KBIA.