As Alberto Stapleton walks across the floor of an empty warehouse, his tall, sturdy frame seems to disappear in the vast space.
“This is a long ways from the eight storage units we used to have to work out of in Littleton,” said Stapleton. He serves as executive director of Project Recycle, a charity organization founded in 2008 that repairs donated bicycles and puts them in the hands of those less fortunate.
Stapleton said the space, donated by the private developer who owns the building, has added momentum and reach to the group’s mission.
“We were actually surprised when we pulled all the bikes out of storage and set them up,” he said. “We had no idea how many we had because they were all stuffed into these storage units, but now, we see how much more we have to give.”
The group moved into the space at 13796 Compark Blvd. in unincorporated Douglas County in October. Stapleton said the extra breathing room has fostered the addition of nine new bicycle repair stations, and the creation of a new resale shop called The Kick Stand.
While Project Recycle accepts bike donations of all makes, models and condition, some are not always a good for kids or the average rider, according to Stapleton.
Higher-end bikes, such as those with specialized frames or those that may have a higher resale value, are sold, and the proceeds go back into Project Recycle.
But Stapleton said the new space is just the beginning of bigger things to come.
“The bikes aren’t always just for kids,” he explained. “We have a lot of bikes for parents as well. Some need them to get to and from work or the bus; others often ride with their kids.”
Project Recycle, which has given away more than 3,000 bikes since its inception, is looking at expansions into Castle Rock, Colorado Springs and New Mexico.
Among Project ReCycle’s biggest needs right now is a pickup truck to pull a small covered trailer.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us before that happens,” Stapleton said. “But it’s worth it, when you see that smile on a kid’s face. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
For more information, visit Project ReCycle online at www.projectrecycle.org.