(WSVN) - A Broward man putting a new spin on the old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and he’s changing lives in the process. 7’s Brandon Beyer has more on how he’s creating “Recycled Rides.”
The shelves are stacked. Rows of rusty, old bicycles line the floor. Retired rides destined to be working again.
Jeff Torkelson, started RBX Charity: “My father passed away at an early age, and I wanted to give back. I decided I wanted to get involved with youth.”
Jeff Torkelson was the CEO of a successful property management company when his father died.
At first, he volunteered for various youth organizations. It was then he realized most of the kids he mentored didn’t have bikes of their own.
Jeff Torkelson: “I just thought, ‘It’s unfortunate, and I can do something about it.'”
And so he did.
Jeff started RBX or Recyclable Bicycle Exchange, a nonprofit organization.
Jeff Torkelson: “This is how we get out of the house and give back to those who are less fortunate, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Bikes and parts are donated, then each one is rebuilt to fit its new owner.
Jeff gives away about 350 bikes a year to low income families and people with special needs. A brand-new helmet is included with each bike.
Jeff Torkelson: “Along with those bikes and those helmets, we’ve probably done another three or 4,000 tune-ups, free air, adjustments, flat tire repairs, things like that.”
7News was there when 10 families received bikes.
Connor Wilson, presented with bike: “This is nice.”
Eleven-year-old Connor and his older sister Ashley were the first to arrive.
Off they went to test out their new rides.
Connor Wilson: “I like it because the wheels and the color and the brakes are really well.”
Volunteer talking to Jessica: “Get on it, and I’m gonna hold the bike until you tell me to let go.”
And this isn’t just child’s play. Twenty-one-year-old Jessica Hudson has never had her own bicycle. At first, she was a little unsteady.
Jessica Hudson: “Tried this one.”
So she was given a bike lower to the ground, and she loves it.
Jessica Hudson, received a new bicycle: “I feel so grateful ’cause there are so many blessings in this world.”
Sixty-eight-year-old Juan Valle, a Vietnam veteran, hasn’t ridden a bike in 40 years.
Juan Valle: “I can’t walk that much anymore at my age, and I gotta do exercise.”
He was steady, comfortable and thankful.
Juan Valle: “It’s fantastic for me and everybody else. I don’t think there’s many organizations like this one.”
For Jeff, it’s people like Connor, Jessica and Juan who make all the hard work worth it.
Jeff Torkelson: “You know, it’s just very rewarding. It does take a lot of time and a lot of effort. It’s pretty cool, it’s pretty special.”
If you’d like to know how to donate to RBX or receive a bike, go to: http://www.rbxfl.org/.
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