The Hartford Bike Shop helps the community through programs and advocacy

Bici Co. Community Bike Shop is located at the crossroads of the Downtown, South Green and Frog Hollow neighborhoods of Hartford.

HARTFORD, Conn. – BiCi Co. Community Bike Shop is short for Bicicleta Y Comunidad (Bikes for the Community).

It sits at the crossroads of the Downtown, South Green and Frog Hollow neighborhoods.

Shop and program manager Tony Cherolis said the location is vital to the community because it’s the only bike shop in town and averages around 30 customers a day.

“Having access to bicycles is critical in low-income communities and car-free households,” Cherolis said. “We’re really important to how people move around the city.”

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He explained that the median household income in Hartford is $36,000 and the cost of owning and operating a car is around $10,000.

“It just doesn’t make sense for many families in the city to have one car or to have more than one car,” he said.

In addition to being accessible to the community, BiCi Co.’s efforts go beyond servicing and selling recycled bicycles, it’s a community program. Its mission is to provide opportunities to improve youth and adult safety, sustainable transportation, youth programs, mechanics classes, job training, and bicycles.

“We are very engaged with the City of Hartford on complete streets, safe streets and safe infrastructure for all road users. Especially those who walk, cycle and stop at bus stops,” said Cherolis.

There is also a Bicycles for Jobs access program, where referrals come from social workers, teachers, medical professionals, and more. and the person referred receives a bicycle for $20.

As BiCi Co.’s programs continue, its work and mission is part of something bigger – the Center for Latino Progress.

Cherolis explained that the Center for Latino Progress has been around since 1978. He said it started as the Puerto Rican Forum of Connecticut and transitioned to the Center for Latino progress when expanding its reach to the Hispanic community.

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Today, the organization helps hundreds of families each year.

“Our mission is focused on improving the socioeconomic conditions of our community as a whole, with a focus on Hispanics,” program director Kimberly Flint explained to FOX61.

She said it’s because Hartford’s population is over 50% Latino. That’s why they offer nearly a dozen youth and adult programs for the whole family, including affordable legal immigration services.

“We try to make sure that we are culturally responsible and adaptable to their needs and that we help them,” Flint explained, referring to the Hispanic community. “We have staff who understand the language and culture where they come from so we can help them acclimate to this country and succeed.”

No matter the program or nationality, Flint said it’s about helping the community thrive.

Saturday October 9 – Cycle to Night Fall at Keney Park – Night Fall is a magical outdoor show with giant puppets, costumes, music, dancing and the unexpected. BiCi Co. will manage the valet parking for bikes and we have organized five group rides. Arrive early for the food trucks, pre-show festival and secure a good seat. All you need to bring is a blanket to sit on. Click here for more information.

Click here for a full list of BiCi Co programs.

Click here for a complete list of Center for Latino Progress Programs

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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