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Volunteers refurbish bikes from Saskatoon landfill

WATCH ABOVE: Bridge City Bicycle Co-op turning one person's trash into another person's treasure.

Scott McGibney has always enjoyed working with bikes.

“I used to race way back in the day and even when I was a university student I worked as a bike mechanic for a couple of summers,” McGibney said.

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It’s why he volunteers his time with the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op (BCBC) – sifting through bikes at Saskatoon’s landfill.

“We look for bikes that can be recovered and rebuilt and returned to use,” he said.

“If they aren’t in good enough shape for that, we’ll try to salvage as many parts as we can.”

Scott McGibney has been volunteering with the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op for four years refurbishing bikes.
Scott McGibney has been volunteering with the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op for four years refurbishing bikes. Nicole Stillger / Global News

It’s all part of the bike diversion project. Staff at the landfill direct people who are dropping off their bikes to leave them for the co-op instead. If it’s not salvageable, it gets scrapped.

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“We try to scrap as few bikes as possible,” McGibney said.

He is one of the many volunteers who go through the stacks of bikes – turning one person’s trash into another person’s treasure.

It’s a year-round effort that typically ramps up in the spring.

“Obviously not a lot of people come in for bikes over the winter, so they build up here over the winter,” McGibney said.

“Once the spring season comes everybody’s looking for a bike we start taking them out.”

The bikes are now starting to make their way from the landfill to the shop to be refurbished and used for various kinds of programming like bike maintenance and mechanics.

Hundreds of bikes and parts stocked at the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op.
Hundreds of bikes and parts stocked at the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op. Nicole Stillger / Global News
Hundreds of bikes and parts stocked at the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op.
Hundreds of bikes and parts stocked at the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op. Global News File

In their first haul of the season, volunteers brought back almost 70 to add to the stock.

“It’s very surprising the quality of bikes people take to the landfill,” BCBC operations manager Ashely Marshall said.

“Once the bikes here deplete just because of giving them out – we then do a trip so we can fill up and restock.”

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In 2018, the organization put almost 400 bikes back on the road. Marshall said they are already seeing a steady stream of people of all ages looking for bikes.

“It’s probably not going to stop until October,” Marshall explained. “We’ll have lineups all summer long.”

That means lots of work for volunteers like McGibney – who said he’s just happy to do his part.

“It’s a very small part, but if everybody does a very small part, turns into a big part.”