Letter to the Editor: The Bike Man Responds

I would like to thank Aleah Kidd for the article she wrote about my retirement and especially the way she captured the essence of our interaction with the J-1 students as more than just issuing them a bicycle.

Some clarification is also necessary. It is true that my involvement began many years ago with those first seven donated bikes. At the end of the 2011 season I had issued 86 bikes and I said, “That’s too many for one old guy.” So the Sister Bay Lions Club took over the bike program. Using a team concept the program grew in size, more than doubling over the next five years. In 2016 they elected to end their involvement with the bike program so I again volunteered to take over. In 2017, 226 bikes were issued and last year 273 were given out. This year we are on tap to equal or exceed that number.

I would like to express my thanks to the many business owners and managers I have met over the past years who have arranged schedules and made students available so that bikes could be issued to each student personally.

I am also grateful for the many people who have volunteered time and equipment to help move, store and deliver bikes over the years.

Special thanks goes to Ray and Jan Mason for their early vision to establish a program for the church community to provide a relationship with the J-1 students. It was during this time that the bike loaning program came into being. Their early efforts grew into the BRIDGES program as we now know it under the capable leadership of Dave and Joyce Detert. I appreciate the support and encouragement these two couples have given me over the years.

Although our involvement with the bike ministry is ending my wife and I will continue to be involved in the BRIDGES program and interacting with the students.

Ken Hollenbeck

Sister Bay, Wisconsin