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Press Release

Bike New York, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and NYC Department of Transporation Begin Distribution of Free Bikes to Asylum Seekers

Over 200 bikes will be distributed to asylum seekers throughout the summer.

Brooklyn, NY, June 28, 2023 – Bike New York, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced today that they will begin distributing the first 100 out of 200 bicycles donated by New Yorkers as part of the Bicycles for Asylum Seekers Program, a pilot initiative designed to provide free bicycles to asylum seekers and other immigrants recently arriving in New York City.

"We can't think of a better way of helping asylum seekers acclimate and connect to this great city than by giving them the opportunity to bike," said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. "They have gone through unimaginable journeys to get to America in search of a better life for their families, and we believe there's a transformational power of cycling that will not only support their resettlement and integration into their new home but help them thrive."

"I am incredibly proud of Bike New York's initiative to encourage New Yorkers to donate their bikes in a time of need for our newest neighbors," said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "Today marks the first day of the bike distribution and we are excited to see our resource centers jump in to help connect asylum seekers to these new modes of transportation."

"I was proud to stand with MOIA, DCAS and Bike New York when we launched this initiative in January, and these newly donated bikes will make a big difference this summer and beyond for hundreds of our newest New Yorkers," said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "I thank the people who donated a bike for their generosity, and NYC DOT will make sure everyone receiving a bike will also receive a newly designed Vision Zero bike helmet to help keep safe."

Those who receive bikes will also be provided a helmet courtesy of New York City DOT, as well as a bike lock and bike lights donated by Bike New York partner Kryptonite.Distributions of the donated bicycles will happen throughout the summer at MOIA's Asylum Seeker Resource Center Locations including:

  • Brooklyn: Mixteca
  • The Bronx: Coalicion Mexicana
  • Queens: NICE
  • Manhattan: Aid for Life
  • Staten Island: La Colmena

All recipients of these bikes will receive free bike repairs at Recycle-A-Bicycle. Additionally, Bike New York will provide Learn to Ride instruction in their native languages for those who do not know how to ride.

The launch of this initiative was made earlier this year, with the goal of providing an inexpensive and convenient way for them to access the services they need to get settled and acclimated in their new homes. Since then, Bike New York received bike donations from New Yorkers across city-wide drop-off locations provided by Unlimited Biking, Trek Bicycle, and NYC DCAS. The bikes were then refurbished through Bike New York's community bike shop, Recycle-A-Bicycle, known for its work repairing and reselling donated bikes and bike parts. Additionally, a generous grant from Amazon supported the purchase of additional bikes and has allowed Bike New York to continue this program for a meaningful period of time. As the crisis continues, Bike New York is continuing efforts to raise essential dollars and engage new partners in this critical program.

"We are proud to be supporters of Bike New York, an organization that runs critical programs helping New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds learn to ride across our city," said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon's Head of Community Affairs in New York. "This program provides new New Yorkers with needed transportation, a key component of economic mobility that also promotes great health and environmental benefits."

"Unlimited Biking is incredibly thankful to have been able to participate in the initiative to provide free bicycles to asylum seekers and other immigrants recently arriving in New York City," said Hakan Ugdur, Unlimited Biking CEO. "One small action can make a huge difference for individuals, and we are proud to be a part of that process as an official partner for Bike New York."

"The bicycle is a simple solution to many of the world's most complex problems. This is demonstrated through Bike New York's initiative to provide free bicycles, as a means of transportation to access jobs and services, to asylum seekers and other immigrants recently arriving in the city," said Andrew Tablante, Market Development Leader, Trek NY. "We are privileged to support Bike New York in this program as we believe in bikes as a transportation solution and share a mission of changing the world by getting more people on bikes."

"Our work centers on integrating newly arrived asylum seekers into New York City life and Bike New York's bicycle donation does just that," said Jesus Aguais, Executive Director of Aid for Life. "Having a bike gives people the freedom to access services, find work opportunities and explore the city on their own terms. We are grateful for Bike New York's initiative and are thrilled that many of our beneficiaries will be on the receiving end of this thoughtful donation."

"Immigrants from across the world look to the USA and, particularly NYC, to see how well we do by those who need our help the most. Providing bikes to recently arrived immigrants gives them the tool they need to earn a living and keep our great city functional," said Jairo Guzman, Founder of the Mexican Coalition. "These humble souls will help keep a city fed, office supplies and documents delivered, and so many other tasks that require delivery via a person on a bike. We are proud to be part of the bike donation program MOIA and Bike New York have created to improve the lives of so many new immigrants in NYC."

"La Colmena is excited to partner with Bike New York to ensure that new arrivals obtain the resources that they need to move around, specifically on Staten Island. This is a great opportunity for new arrivals to make it easier to go to work and provide for their families." said Yesenia Mata, Executive Director of La Colmena.

"Over the past year, Mixteca has been at the forefront of aiding thousands of newly-arrived asylum-seekers from across Latin America who have sought refuge in New York City. As an established community-based organization in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, our strong relationships with both new and longstanding community members have enabled us to build trust and provide crucial support to those in need. Bike New York's contribution of bicycles plays a vital role in empowering individuals and fostering a sense of belonging in their new home. This donation enables our community members to freely navigate the city, seek employment, access resources, and explore other opportunities. We express our gratitude to Bike New York and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for this important initiative." said Lorena Kourousias, Executive Director.

"Today's Bike Distribution initiative represents how the community can come together to welcome and empower asylum seekers that arrive in NYC. As we know, transportation by bike, subway, or bus is an essential tool of life & work for all immigrants. These bikes for asylum seekers donated by Bike New York will represent freedom, a tour of discovery, and an empowerment tool for asylum seekers. These bikes would allow asylum seekers to attend OSHA/SST training, a doctor's appointment, or even an immigration court date. Thank you to NYC Mayor Adams, MOIA, and Bike New York for this initiative." said Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, Deputy Director of NICE.

About Bike New York

Bike New York is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free bike education programs throughout New York City. Bike New York teaches bike education and safety skills to 30,000 kids and adults each year. Funding for these programs comes from numerous annual events, including the TD Five Boro Bike Tour and regional rides like Twin Lights.

About Unlimited Biking

At Unlimited Biking, we believe that the best cycling experience is one that encompasses quality bikes, great customer service, and the desire to explore. Through sightseeing tours and rentals in NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, and soon in Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles, we've been dedicated to sharing our passion for biking for over ten years.