‘Hope and a better future’ : Knoxville nonprofit makes cycling affordable

USA Cycling Championship

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – With the 2021 USA Cycling National Championships in town this weekend, some may feel extra motivated to start pedaling again. One Knoxville shop and nonprofit is making it easier and cheaper for people to pick up the hobby.

“Every day we have people coming in who are looking to get an affordable bike or want to come in and volunteer to make sure they can get affordable or free bikes back to the community,” said Mitchell Connell, the Executive Director of Two Bikes. “We think life is just better with a bike.”

Connell said he knew when he started Two Bikes that affordability was an issue when shopping for a bike.

“Most bikes in a bike shop are going to cost more than a thousand dollars, that can be just absolutely prohibitive for a lot of people,” he said.

Connell said they take in donated bikes and refurbish them so they can be sold back into the community for an average cost of $250. In addition to the refurbished bikes being sold, they are also giving back. That’s why they’re called Two Bikes.

“The really cool thing is for every bike that we refurbish and sell back to the community, we’re going to donate a second bike back to the community.”

So far, the organization has already donated more than 100 bikes to local and regional nonprofits.

“Everyone kind of understands that your first bike kind of feels like freedom,” Connell said.

One of the people who experienced that freedom thanks to the work of Two Bikes is Angel House.

“It gets me out of an area where I don’t need to be in,” House said. The Two Bikes regular explained she was in recovery and was homeless. The shop and nonprofit gave Angel a bike and a lock to keep it safe on the streets. On top of the freedom the bike gave her, she also said it gave her hope.

“Everybody matters, everybody should be loved and have hope,” House said.

The Executive Director said it is the least he can do.

“We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of riding a bike,” said Connell. “If we can do that by smiling and saying, ‘Welcome to our shop’ when you come in then we’re going to get that done.”

Two Bikes is at 118 South Central Street in Old Knoxville. Anyone looking to donate a bike or for volunteer opportunities can contact the shop at 865-951-2950. Nonprofits who may need bikes can also contact them at that number.

Lastly, there is also a free Community Workbench inside the shop for anyone to use if they need repairs on their bike.

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