Hundreds of Dubliners have answered a call for the delivery of bicycles for Ukrainian refugees living in Ireland.
aul McQuaid, owner of River Cycles on Usher’s Island next to the James Joyce Bridge, said his shop has refurbished and given away more than 750 bikes since the initiative started in March.
He told Independent.ie he’s been “working around the clock” due to the overwhelming response to the call.
“The public response has been amazing and I’m grateful for all the support,” he said. “Between collecting, repairing and arranging deliveries across the country, I’ve been here seven days a week for the last five months.
“It’s been non-stop and the list of things I have to do every day is endless.”
Mr McQuaid, who has been in business for over 40 years, says he is not surprised by people’s generosity – and revealed he has received 150 bikes from Ballymun Garda station.
“These were stolen bikes that were never claimed by their owners and I hope Garda stations across the country consider doing the same,” he said.
“I know hundreds of thousands of bikes in sheds and garages are decaying, so my goal is to put them to good use – that’s the definition of a no-brainer.”
Mr McQuaid looks for used bikes in “reasonable, repairable condition” and said he prefers “dust to rust”.
He said the volunteer work of Jerry Case, an American cycling enthusiast who helps conduct bike repairs, has been “absolutely invaluable.” He also thanked couriers DPD for offering to transport a number of refurbished bikes to Ukrainians across the country.
“Every day, bikes are being delivered to hotels in remote places like the Burren,” he said. “Ukrainians have messaged me to say how much a bike has changed their lives.
“It’s good for the psyche to be able to get on a bike for a few hours – a bike is no small thing.”
A Ukrainian mother received bicycles under the program after it was discovered that she had to walk her son 6 km to school every day. In an email, she thanked River Cycles for “helping us through such a difficult time in our lives.”
Mr McQuaid emphasized that despite the initiative’s success to date, his appeal for unwanted bikes continues.
“You have to consider that 40,000 Ukrainians live here now,” he added. “Word has gotten around about what we do, so we get requests for bikes from all over Ireland.
“We are particularly looking for donations of women’s bikes.”
Mr McQuaid previously made headlines when he offered free bike repairs to frontline workers during the pandemic.
He was also in the news earlier this year when his €6,500 electric cargo bike was stolen from the yard of his Portobello home. It was later recovered by Gardaí in Kilmainham.
https://www.independent.ie/regionals/dublin/hundreds-of-ukrainian-refugees-across-ireland-get-gift-of-a-bike-41887707.html Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees across Ireland are being given a bike