SEATTLE -- A new program in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood will give recovering addicts and the poor something they really need: mobility.
Eric Patchen is the owner of Bikes Plus Art. With the help of a city Department of Sustainability and Environment grant, Patchen has refurbished 20 bicycles to be used free by neighbors in Belltown. The program is called "Full Cycle Bike Club for Recovering Lives."
All users need to do is show proof they are receiving social services to use the bikes to buy groceries, go to jobs or job interviews and be mobile in an environmentally friendly way.
"It just empowers people who don't often feel that they have that kind of power," said Patchen.
The program also provides bike helmets and locks and will coach clients on safe bicycling and a healthy bicycle lifestyle.
"When you're trying to live in a sustainable way, you can't help but improve other areas like physical health, community-building and reducing greenhouse gases," said Sara Wysocki, communications advisor for the Office of Sustainability and Environment.
Patchen admits there's a bit of self interest, too.
"You never know. It might actually get somebody really engaged, involved (who) would want to turn it into a job and I could hire them!" he said.
Full Cycle Bike Club for Recovering Lives