WRENCH says bring your bikes to them— not the curb
Don’t do the right thing the wrong way, city group advises
KETTLES, clothes, toaster ovens, furniture, books and more will be piled on
curbs and lawns Saturday and Sunday, free for the taking as part of the
city’s biannual Giveaway Weekend.
Pat Krawec, co-executive director of the WRENCH (Winnipeg Repair Education
and Cycling Hub), hopes bicycles will not be among the items in the pile.
He is attempting to educate Winnipeggers about the benefits of taking bikes
that have outlived their usefulness — whether they’re old, broken or have
been outgrown — to one of the city’s three 4R Depots, rather than leaving
them on the curb.
The depots — located at 1777 Brady Rd., 1120 Pacific Ave. and 429 Panet Rd.
— forward all bikes to the WRENCH, a non-profit charity at 1057 Logan Ave.
that offers programs for schoolchildren and adults in bike repair, teaches
people to build their own bicycles, and offers off-site tune-ups in the
community. Services are by donation on a sliding scale, or can be paid for
with volunteer hours at the shop.
It also sells refurbished bicycles at its retail location at The Forks.
“Why is doing the right thing sometimes the wrong thing?” Krawec said.
“Manitobans are generous, it’s true. But putting your bike at the curb can
actually act as a buffer for bike theft in two ways.”
First, when unwanted bikes are regularly left out for anyone to take —
whether it’s during a Giveaway Weekend or not — it offers thieves plausible
“Another way it really promotes bike theft is it devalues the bicycle,” Krawec
said. “People say, ‘Well, they’re not important. People leave them lying
around, so it’s no big deal if I take one.’ That really contributes greatly
to the problem.”
Krawec said the current methamphetamine abuse epidemic in Winnipeg has led
to a spike in bike theft. “Because we have an addiction crisis, those
people are very vulnerable, and they’re going to be preyed upon by dealers
and the people who run chop shops — they’re the people who profit (from
theft).” With nine community bike shops— including the Bike Dump (631 Main
St.) and Co-Op Vélo-Cité (190 Avenue de la Cathedrale) — Winnipeg is an
international leader in this kind of programming.
The city is also the first jurisdiction in Canada to forge an agreement
with community bike shops to handle recycling.
“One hundred per cent of the children’s bikes that go in (to the depots)
get reused,” Krawec said. “And about 70 per cent of the adult bikes get
reused or at least sorted for parts… A bike for the city is worth about 70
cents in dirty scrap. A bike for a community bike project is worth a
minimum of $25 per unit.
“It’s an instant way to add value into your community.”