Scouting for Bikes event brings in haul, hope

by Stefanie Watson

Hudson Cub Scout packs have been collecting bicycle donations for over a decade, first with the goal to supply Peninsula’s Camp Manatoc with a few bikes. A goal of 10 bikes turned into 65 that first year. Eventually local packs teamed up with Hudson Presbyterian Church to collect for its Cycles for Christ mission.  

This year’s donation drive was held on Nov. 5, at the Hudson Presbyterian Church and netted 135 bikes by the Scouts. Michael Connelly, a fifth-grader at Seton Catholic School and member of Hudson Scout Pack 3327, helped collect, tag and load up donations. 

“Whenever a donor drove in, we had to quickly run over, grab the bikes, wheel them in, thank the donor and offer them a tax receipt,” Connelly recalled. The transport trailer made many trips, hauling the bikes away to get cleaned up and repaired before being donated.

As of 2021, the mission had repaired and distributed over 4,800 bikes – 1,100 of which have been collected by Scouts over the years. Cycles for Christ founder Jon Polhamus thinks that the total number is now closer to 6,000. 

Scouts are encouraged to aid in tuning up the bikes, where they learn the ABCs (air, brake and chain) of bicycle repair. 

“There is a whole team of people who help collect, repair and donate these bikes,” Polhamus explained. “I’ve met some great people – helpers and recipients – along the way.”  

The bikes, as well as a helmet, go to those who cannot afford one and are often donated through other charitable organizations. Recipients are typically poor, homeless and/or refugees who have very little. 

“Providing a bike, a simple mode of transportation, can provide hope in a person’s life when they need it most,” Polhamus said.

That hope is also felt by the Scouts who help collect the bikes. Connelly summed up the event perfectly: “The experience was amazing. Now every time I ride my bike, I know that 135 other people can do the same.”

To donate used bikes or bike parts, please contact Hudson Presbyterian Church or go to the Mission section of their website ∞

Featured Photo: Hudson Scout Pack 3327 organizes and mans an annual bike collection, held this year on Nov. 5, which are refurbished through Hudson Presbyterian Church’s Cycles for Christ mission and given to those in need. Photo submitted.