Two-Wheel Drive: The Power of Using Bikes as Transportation

Oct 26, 2023

"We believe people's lives shouldn't be so hard. Though it's just a bike, we know that a bike makes a difference."

Many people use bikes as a quick and efficient way to get through traffic, help air pollution, and for health purposes. There's something about getting on a bike and catching the breeze through your hair, relieving stress from a challenging day, or catching the scenery in an open beautiful space. For some, riding a bike is just plain ole fun!

Then, some people use bikes to get to work, access the city, grocery shop, or survive. Benton Harbor residents with low, or no incomes struggle to find consistent transportation through the city, due to the challenges of choosing which bill to pay, which food pantry is closer, which grocery store has the cheapest meats, not having the funds for an automobile (or lack of keeping up with automobile expenses), or due to transportation services being limited. There is hardship in getting from point A to point B, and with that hardship, there's an inaccessibility of the city to those experiencing homelessness and poverty. However, someone saw a resolution to the issue, and that someone is named Eddie and Lynn.


Eddie and Lynn are both from the Southwest Michigan area. They buy and fix bikes for people who are experiencing homelessness, hopelessness, and hardship. They usually serve the population that is "unhoused, but also people in need of transportation to obtain resources, jobs, housing, etc.”

Eddie and Lynn always had a heart to donate to unhoused people; they would always donate food, tents, sleeping bags, and any other items that people needed to feel comfortable. When asked how their bike ministry began, Eddie and Lynn said, "One of the nonprofits in the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan serves unhoused people and we wanted to get involved. They expressed a need for a bike trailer. We purchased and donated the bike trailer. After donating the bike trailer, we thought to ourselves, "If unhoused individuals needed bike trailers, they must need bikes, too." That donated bike trailer was the beginning of the bike ministry." Eddie and Lynn get bikes, fix the damages, and donate them to people in need. When asked about the process, Lynn usually searches and finds the bikes, and I fix the bikes, said Eddie. "We purchase the majority of our bikes through The Facebook Marketplace and garage sales. I still work 4 days a week and I work on the bikes when I can."

According to Data USA, 14.4% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Kalamazoo County, MI (36.9k out of 256k people), live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.8%. 15.9% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Berrien County, MI (24.1k out of 151k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.6%. While Eddie and Lynn primarily focus on helping The Benton Harbor area, they also donate to the Kalamazoo area.

Eddie and Lynn shared a story about a young man who walks to get to work because of the lack of transportation. "There's currently a guy who starts work at six in the morning, and the buses don't run that early so he's walking about 2 hours to work every day. Those are the type of people we love to help. He's in need of a bike." Lynn added, "A lot of employers won't hire people unless they have transportation, and the bikes satisfy that requirement. Kalamazoo also has bike clinics where people can bring their bikes for repairs as needed. It's just a much larger town with many organizations trying to meet various needs. Benton Harbor does not have as many resources."

What does a typical day in life look like for repairing and donating bikes? According to Eddie and Lynn, Lynn searches for bikes and makes sure Eddie can fix them. They buy small parts for the bikes, clean them up, and make sure the bikes are good. Then, they reach out to The Salvation Army of Benton Harbor and The Soup Kitchen of Benton Harbor and ask about the need. If The Salvation Army or The Soup Kitchen is low in bikes, they pack their van and deliver more bikes. Adam W., a former shelter resident shared about his experience of using one of the bikes donated by Eddie and Lynn, "My first reaction was, are these bikes free? These are some great bikes, and they look new! I had to move from my mother's home because she lived in an individualized apartment where she couldn't have anyone living with her. I came to the shelter because I had nowhere to go. I had a job, but it was 6 miles away, and I worked the night shift, so I had to walk. The shelter helped me with bus tokens, but the challenge was not being able to take the bus, due to the buses not running after hours. I remember meeting the nice couple who rehabs bikes and wanted to bless the shelter to provide transportation. I got a bike and felt grateful to be able to get reliable transportation, save my money, and I got a nice apartment."


Eddie and Lynn's ministry helps many people in the areas of Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo. They want to maximize their bike ministry, but because of the nice bikes, residents have been asking for locks for their bikes. "The Benton Harbor Salvation Army needs bike locks at this time. We can purchase more bikes if we don't have to supply bike locks, too,” said Lynn.

Lynn added, “I think being homeless and finding the will to keep going is dedication. It's just the two of us trying to make unhoused individuals' and families' lives easier. I honestly don't know how they hold it all together.”

In Mark 12:30-31, we are reminded to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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