Urbana Police give away previously abandoned bikes

Hundreds of Champaign-Urbana citizens lined up on South Glover Avenue on Thursday morning, hoping to ride home on a previously abandoned bike that had been recovered by Urbana Police.

However, the Urbana Police Department had more people than they had bikes at the free bike giveaway.

Lt. Robert Fitzgerald, of Urbana Police Department, said this was at least the fourth time the event was held. This time, the department had more than 100 bikes to give away.

The bikes distributed had been abandoned and recovered in Urbana but were never claimed by their original owners.

“We used to give the bikes to the Boys & Girls Clubs,” Fitzgerald said. “But when people stopped wanting them, we started the bike giveaway.”

Fitzgerald also said people line up as early as three hours prior to the giveaway to ensure they get a bike because it’s based on a first-come, first-served basis. Bikes were free to Champaign-Urbana citizens, but there was a limit of one bike per person.

All bikes were gone by 10:30 a.m., and the giveaway ended about an hour and a half earlier than the scheduled time.

Champaign resident Nika Lucks said she was upset that she had missed the opportunity to get a free bike.

“I got here at 10:30 a.m. and the police said there were 500 people lined up when they opened,” Lucks said. “If I had known it was first-come, first-served, I would’ve slept here or something!”

Fitzgerald confirmed a large turnout and Urbana Police left the warehouse before 11 a.m. with no bikes left to give away.

Amelia Neptune, campus bike coordinator, said the best way to keep a bike from being classified as “abandoned” is to register it at go.illinois.edu/mybike. This website allows owners to register their bikes with a description of it and the owner’s contact information.

Ariell can be reached at [email protected]