Smooth ride: Volunteers pitch in to help veterans’ bikes for transportation


By Mark Ambrogi

Sometimes it does indeed take a village or in this case, a city.

Several Fishers residents played a part to help secure bicycles for three veterans in need.

“It’s a cool story how this man reached out to someone and in the city of Fishers everyone pulled together to do their part,” said Laurie Quinn, commons manager at Crosspoint, a Fishers church, and president of the Kiwanis Club of Geist.

Matt Bernard, from Easter Seals Crossroads, contacted Fishers City Councilman Todd Zimmerman to see if he could help find bicycles.

The veterans, who requested not to be identified because of medical privacy issues, were at-risk of becoming homeless or staying in veterans housing, said Sara Croft, media relations manager from Easter Seals Crossroads, the bicycles allow the trio to get to and from work for transportation, .

Easter Seals Crossroads’ mission statement is to improve the life of children and adults with disabilities, special needs or challenges by promoting inclusion, independence and dignity. Another role is to connect qualified veterans who are seeking employment with employers within the community.

Zimmerman, in turn, reached out to Crossroads.

Quinn, who volunteers for many nonprofits, was more than happy to get involved to help.

“I love helping people,” said Quinn, who also rides mountain bikes.

Quinn contacted Jim Moffitt, owner of Fishers-based LoKe Bicycles, and Moffitt put Quinn in contact with Fishers resident Dave Alves of Conquest Cycling, a nonprofit group which refurbishes bicycles to donate to those in need.

“Everything took off from there,” Zimmerman said. “It’s really cool. It’s a small story but at the same time that helps everyone understand what community means and what being able to help those people that gave of themselves for our country. We’re giving back a small piece to them to help them get back on their feet and be able to get some transportation. It’s not one person who fixes things. It’s about a community. It definitely wasn’t me. It was several people. Mostly (Conquest Cycling) who was able to get bicycles that were safe for them to ride.”

Conquest’s mission

Conquest Cycling is a made up for men who love to ride and help people.

“We’re a men’s cycling team that rides as peloton. We also have a repairing peloton,” Alves said.

Alves said Conquest Cycling, made up of volunteers, is in the final stages of becoming 501c3.

“We began as an outreach project, refurbishing bicycles for Circle City Relief,” said Alves, a Fishers resident who is member of the group’s board. “From there we realized the big need for repairing bicycles. Eventually people starting donating bicycles and we repair them and found people with a need. We repair bikes for veterans, people with reading problems at school, the homeless. Every third Sunday we have a mobile unit that goes down to Circle City Relief to repair bikes for that area in Indianapolis.”

Circle City Relief is a Christian organization dedicated to helping those in need of resources.

Conquest Cycling was founded by Carmel residents John Wright and Eric Carleton.

“Many of us go to Grace Church and we kind of met there,” Alves sad. “There are nine or 10 organizations we give bikes to.”

ESC assists vets

Patrick Sandy, president and CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, said his organization has always served veterans.

“But after receiving funding specifically to devote to the initiative, we were able to dedicate more energy to finding veterans and connecting them to the resources they need,” Sandy said. “We quickly realized just how many veterans needed support and how many of them we were able to impact within central Indiana. Our services do not stop once our team finds a veteran a meaningful career. We have to help them keep that job, through continual workplace training and by providing resources for veterans to get to and from work. These bikes are just one additional way for us to support the men and women who served our country.”