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      Toledo Bikes! helps at-risk youths build positive futures

      A Toledo bike shop is helping low income families and at-risk youths to get on the road.

      Toledo Bikes! opened its downtown location on Washington Avenue more than two years ago to help those less fortunate afford a bicycle. The shop recycles and refurbishes used bikes and sells them at a cheaper cost. The non-profit organization also helps to promote bicycling awareness through community outreach, education and cycling events.

      The shop recently donated 12 bikes to students at Hawkins Elementary School. Students who wrote the best essays went home with a bike that they can now ride to school. Toledo Bikes! also hosts programs to teach at-risk youths about bicycling and how to build their own bike. They can then take their bike home upon completion. Employees say the program helps keep kids out of trouble while doing something positive for their community.

      â??A lot of them we see coming back over the years as theyâ??ve grown up,â?? said Erik Thomas, an employee at Toledo Bikes! He continued, â??Theyâ??ve gotten their first job, they need transportation, theyâ??ll come in here and earn some hours.â??

      Toledo Bikes! is also involved in the Community Integration and Training for Employment (CITE) program to help participants develop job skills.

      Youth and adult bikes can be purchased for the cost of about $45 to $200.