HYDE PARK — Volunteers in South Tampa are lending a hand to help a North Tampa ministry provide repairs to bicycles for those in need.
A Realtor and a part-time chaplain at Tampa General Hospital, Colfer, 47, hopes it will be its own ministry and be able to distribute the bikes in the South and Central Tampa area.
South Tampa Bicycle Recyclery began in October at a 2203 W. Dekle Ave., a former home that had been a business that closed. Colfer, a Davis Islands resident, said she bought property “and then I had no idea what do with it.”
An avid cyclist, Colfer said she had heard about God’s Pedal Power, a 15-year-old all-volunteer ministry, supported by St. James United Methodist Church in New Tampa and run by Mike and Karen Olsen of Lutz.
“I went up there and it was awesome. I didn’t feel intimidated and I liked the way they interacted with the people receiving the bikes,” Colfer said. “I approached them about supporting their existing ministry.”
Each week, bikes and assorted parts (mainly recycled from bikes that can’t be repaired) are delivered to Colfer; volunteers show up on Wednesdays to the South Tampa location to work on them. Once completed, they are returned to God’s Pedal Power for distribution.
Mike Olsen said, “It’s great to have her show up with one, two or three ready to go.”
Olsen said God’s Pedal Power delivers bikes as far as Bay Pines VA Health Care in St. Petersburg and to missions in southern Hillsborough County.
“I’d like to see her grow a bike ministry there and be able to take some of it off of us,” Olsen said.
On a recent Wednesday, Allen Gray of South Tampa was among the volunteers at the South Tampa location. There is a checklist to follow: including replacing parts, spraying with lubricants, checking the tires, adjusting the gears and replacing tubes if needed.
Gray, an avid cyclist, said, he heard about the need and decided to help. He brought along spare parts he had at his house to donate.
“We used to take apart our bikes when I was a kid just for fun,” Gray said.
Molly McLoughlin, a teacher at Ballast Point Elementary School, brought her 13-year-old son, Will, along to assist.
“I have my own bike — and I thought it would be nice for other people who could afford one to get one, too,” Will McLoughlin said.
Colfer said she doesn’t distribute the bikes at the current location because she isn’t equipped to handle the paperwork and potential crowds.
However, if it continues to grow, she hopes a church will “adopt” the program as a ministry and offer a more suitable location for intake, repairs and distribution.