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News 2011

Alumni team up to send restored bikes to Caribbean By Aleta Mayne

Children in St. Kitts and Nevis will benefit from a zeal for wheels that is shared by two Colgate alumni from different generations. Thanks to a collaboration between Chuck Fox '70 and Kathryn Bertine '97, 75 gently used bicycles will be shipped to the small Caribbean islands, where they then will be distributed to elementary and middle schoolers.

Fox's Community Bikes program already provides approximately 300 newly restored bicycles per year to people in Madison County who otherwise couldn't afford one. He's always wanted to expand the initiative, and with the help of Bertine, it's gone global.

Bertine's mission to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics led her to the Caribbean Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which granted her dual citizenship in 2008. As a way of giving back to the nation that is helping her toward her Olympic dream, she has committed to helping them build a cycling federation -- starting with children.

"Because they allow me to race for them, I wanted to be able to make sure that the next generation of cyclists is up and coming," she explained. 

Bertine and Fox have known each other since she was a Colgate student, but they didn't realize that their goals could intersect until she came to the university's bookstore last year.

In listening to Bertine talk about her new book As Good As Gold, Fox learned of her quest to make the Olympics.

"I've got something you might be interested in," he told Bertine, and then brought her to the Community Bikes garage in Hamilton, where he houses approximately 1,000 bicycles. She knew that just a fraction of those bikes would make a huge impact on the small nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Their collaboration got underway when Bertine put Fox in touch with the St. Kitts and Nevis Cycling Federation's President Greg Philip and Vice President Winston Crooke. The federation offers an after-school and weekend program that encourages youth to build a lifelong habit of cycling and helps those who want to compete in the sport.

As Fox was making calls to hash out the logistics of sending bikes overseas, he was told to contact USAID about its Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which coordinates youth programs in an effort to combat drug- and gang-related issues. He learned about the Denton Program, which allows U.S. citizens and organizations to transport humanitarian goods on U.S. military cargo planes for free.

Fox is currently finalizing the required paperwork and transportation details. The bikes have been fully serviced and, after several Theta Chi brothers and members of the Morrisville College Auto Tech Club dedicated their elbow grease to clean them last weekend, they are ready to go.

The first shipment will transport 50 bikes to Nevis and 25 to St. Kitts. "Those bikes will go a long way," Bertine enthused.

"It's a small country, and we feel like we can have an impact there," Fox said of St. Kitts and Nevis, whose population is approximately 70 percent of Madison County's. "Our hope is that if this is successful, we can build off of this."

St.Kitts & Nevis Triathlon Federation
St.Kitts & Nevis Triathlon Federation


Kathryn Bertine's book
Kathryn Bertine's book
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