Jamestown Police Department donates bikes to Orphan Grain Train

Orphan Grain Train bikes.jpg
Officers Gary Jensen, left, and Becky Johnson of the Jamestown Police Department have been assisting in acquiring bikes to be dropped off at the Orphan Grain Train. OGT volunteers Jim Vandrovec, right, and Sue Corwin work on repairing the bikes and getting them sent off to third-world countries. Many of the bikes go to residents on the continent of Africa. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The train is going to Liberia and it is bringing with it a shipment of bikes.

Orphan Grain Train is a local non-profit Christian volunteer network that shares personal and material resources with those in need locally and abroad. Volunteers provide clothing, medical supplies and food on a regular basis. The non-profit began accepting donations of bikes regularly around one year ago.

One of the Orphan Grain Train's most faithful bike suppliers is the Jamestown Police Department. JPD recently made a donation of more than 20 bikes.

"What happens is when bikes are picked up or found or whatever the case is, they get turned into our office and I hang on to them," said Gary Jensen, Jamestown police officer. "On a six-month cycle both in May and then again in the fall, I look at all of the bikes that are at least six months old and I (try to) have it matched with a stolen. (If I don't find a match) then I am eligible to get rid of them."

Many of those bikes will be making a trip across the Atlantic once Jim Vandrovec is finished with them.


Vandrovec, an Orphan Grain Train volunteer, has taken on the responsibility of fixing and refurbishing the bikes donated. If bikes are unusable Vandrovec said they will be used for parts. Once bikes are refurbished, they are either given to those in the community who are less fortunate or shipped overseas to a Christian community in Liberia.

Jensen said he fully supports the refurbishing of the two-wheeled bikes. The Jamestown Police Department has been consistently been working with Orphan Grain Train for about a year. Jensen also donates bikes to other non-profits. Jensen said there is a yearly average of 50 bikes picked up by the JPD.

"It's a big benefit," Jensen said of donating the bicycles. "There is a lot of people who don't have the funds necessary to either go out and buy a new bike or to have one repaired. Generally, the reason that we have them is that the cost to repair them is so great it negates their ability to reclaim the bike.

"Rather than putting a bike that is in disrepair into somebody's hands, I would rather turn them to somebody like (Vandrovec) or somebody who does refurbishing. That way I know they have been gone through and they are in better condition."

Not all bike donations come from the Police Department. If community members would like to donate bikes that are no longer utilized, the Orphan Grain Train is open from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Saturdays.

In those two three-hour windows, Vandrovec has his work cut out for him.

"You have to make sure the bike has air in the tires, you have to make sure the seat is good - if it's bad we'll replace those," Vandrovec said. "We try and de-rust the chain and the gears and try to clean those up a little bit - putting grease on them and whatnot. If the tires aren't any good we replace the tires with another tire or tube."

While each bike takes a different amount of time, Vandrovec said Orphan Grain Train is expecting to make a shipment to Libya in the next week.


"It varies, every one has its own timeline," Vandrovec said of how long it takes to get the bikes up and running. "Some take an hour, others may take longer than that. If they are really, really good bikes - they could be ready to go with touching up a few things."

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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