Communication Builds Our Community

"Slow Roll" Great Way to Get involved in Care Center Bike Shop

Care Center Bicycle Ministry Focus of Efforts for Volunteers

Area residents now have an opportunity to join their friends and neighbors on a "Slow Roll" thanks to the efforts of Care Center employees Dwayne Goldman and Chris Kinson.

The duo run one of Lake Wales best kept secrets, the Lake Wales Care Center Bicycle Ministry, hidden inside a cavernous downtown garage at 201 North Scenic Highway at the corner of Orange Avenue. There, stacks of donated bicycles await volunteers eager to clean them up and put them in working order.

Lake Wales community members gather at the bike shop at 9 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month for an escorted "Slow Roll" ride through town. Everyone is welcome, and wearing bicycle helmets for safety is encouraged. The ride is followed by breakfast, fellowship, and often, live music.

Offering a place where local bicyclists can stop by for a quick repair or a conversation with other bicycle enthusiasts, the ministry provides bicycles that carry people to needed places of employment and to the grocery store. It also provides meaningful work for clients and interns of the Care Center, while supporting programming aspects of the ministry through online and thrift store sales.

At Christmas, many children in Lake Wales received beautifully refurbished bicycles from this workshop.

The bike shop had an accidental beginning. Goldman, a former missionary and youth pastor, has worked at the Care Center for six years. Three years ago, a visit to a Christian bicycle ministry in Tampa opened his eyes to the need for a similar ministry in Lake Wales.

The very next week he assisted several Care Center clients with bicycle repairs and a brand-new bicycle repair manual came into the thrift store. Soon Goldman was repairing bikes between his other duties.

During the pandemic, people were cleaning out their garages and donating more bikes, and the Care Center Bicycle Ministry provided a local source of affordable bicycles when bikes were unavailable for purchase.

According to Goldman, the spiritual call to fix bicycles became so strong that he considered leaving the Care Center and going out of state to a bicycle mechanic school to learn how to repair bicycles.

As fortune would have it, Kinson was a new volunteer working at the Dundee Care Center. He had recently sold a bicycle business in Winter Haven and brought extensive experience in bicycle mechanics and repair.

At the suggestion of Care Center Director Rob Quam, Goldman and Kinson were soon repairing bicycles three days a week in a Care Center building, and the Lake Wales Care Center Bicycle Ministry was born. Quam jokingly calls program director Goldman the heart, and Kinson the brains, behind the operation.

The love and passion that Goldman has for the work and community is palpable when he talks about the bicycle ministry. He insists that it "is not just about fixing bikes. It is about the community that is being built around this work.

The program is powered by volunteers, including Jim Karan, who has been helping at the bicycle ministry for several years. Karan explains that he has a permanent disability that leaves him chronically dizzy and, as a result, he cannot drive a car. Instead, he peddles a recumbent, three-wheel bicycle around town.

"I have learned a lot about bicycle mechanics since volunteering here," Karan said. "By helping everyone that walks through these big double doors, we are spreading love to our entire community."

"It is thrilling to take a rough looking used bike and transform it into a shiny refurbished bicycle ready for a new owner," another volunteer said.

For more information about the Lake Wales Care Center Bicycle Ministry, the Slow Roll, and other volunteer opportunities call the Lake Wales Care Center (863) 676-6678.

 

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