LACONIA — The Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange will hold an open house on Saturday, May 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its recently opened location, a 20 foot by 20 foot former motorcycle garage next to the Big Banana Store on 229 Messer Street which is located across from the WOW Trail.
People are invited to come and get a personal tour of the facility and review the working of the exchange, which according to organizer John Rogers will be affiliated with Bike Walk Alliance of New Hampshire (BWANH). Drop-off or pickup of donated bicycles, helmets and accessories will be at the Messer Street location, which is open limited hours when the big sign is up and door is open.
Rogers says that donations of bicycles, tools and accessories are encouraged.
The next meeting for the Bicycle Exchange, which is sponsored by Better Together, will be on Thursday May 22 at 4 p.m. at the Laconia Middle School Library.
The purpose of the Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange (LABE) is to provide a means of inexpensive alternative transportation in the form of refurbished used bicycles, made available to people who would benefit with greater mobility as it relates to work, family and personal living. The focus of the exchange would be for people who have no means to afford an automobile or who have no valid drivers license. A referral program would be used by working with area human service organizations that would refer people to the exchange. Also referrals from concerned friends and neighbors.
Rogers says that providing a means of greater mobility for those in the community with limited means helps with stable employment and meeting personal responsibilities such as doctor's appointments and also provides family and recreational benefits. Other benefits of the program will be the donation or recycling of bicycles that otherwise are discarded or sent out of the community to serve other areas. Also the promotion of a more bike friendly community.
The next step will be to form an organizational structure working with like minded organizations and volunteers to create a board or committee structure and to build civic support in making Laconia, Belmont and Gilford communities more bicycle friendly.