HARTFORD, Conn. — While BiCi Co.'s walls in Hartford may have bikes and gear lining the walls, the organization's foundation was built on working towards equitable and sustainable transportation for all.
"One of our goals here is to create more equity and our future generations so that someone that is interested in bikes, and maybe not have that opportunity just because their family can't afford to buy them over a new bike is not dismissed, is not left out," said Jacob Sheppard-Saidel, Shop and Service Manager of BiCi Co.
The BiCi Co. bike shop is a Center for Latino Progress branch. An organization that's meant to advance the socio-economic conditions of the Community at large, with emphasis on Hispanics, through education, training, supportive services, leadership development, and advocacy
BiCi Co. is the only bike shop in the city of Hartford and is designed to help the community through programs that improve youth and adult bike safety and sustainable transportation while offering mechanic classes, job training, and more.
"For a lot of folks, they're so grateful to have access to this because having a bicycle makes the world a much smaller place for someone whose only option before was walking," said Sheppard-Saidel.
Sheppard-Saidel said their work is vital for the community as many in the area live below the poverty line, often due to systemic racism and other issues. He explained how those in the black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by it.
"So, having access to transportation, something that's cheap, sustainable and equitable, makes it possible for folks that need to get where they're going to— rather that's to work, out to dinner, to a friend's house and makes that possible for that to happen," said Sheppard-Saidel.
Sheppard-Saidel said the Center for Latino Progress has an advocacy program called Transport Hartford Academy, created to enhance BiCi Co's mission, promoting modes of transportation that are environmentally sustainable, equitable, safe, and accessible here in Hartford. CLICK HERE for more information.
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