Two Petaluma brothers who believe anyone wanting to better themselves should have access to reliable transportation have started a nonprofit, called Broken Cycles, where they mend bicycles for residents at the Committee on the Shelterless and other homeless shelters.
Nelson Rudolph, 25, who works in marketing at Amy's Kitchen, recently went to COTS to volunteer and noticed a large number of broken bicycles.
Rudolph grew up working on family bicycles and now races on a cycling team, and when he saw the bicycles, he says he recognized a way he could use his skillset to fill an unmet need at the shelter.
"I figured there's so many people I can help in a unique way," he said.
With support from Amy's Kitchen and Mike's Bikes, Rudolph and his brother Ben, 21, began collecting and fixing bicycles.
They're hoping to turn their efforts into a nonprofit that repairs bicycles at shelters around the Bay Area.
"We've gotten so much support," Rudolph said, adding that 15 bicycles were recently donated within the space of a week.
Together, the brothers put new innertubes in the tires, replace old cables and rusted chains, and make other repairs to get the bikes working. "Every bike has some story; it's been run over by a car or something," he said.
He added that the brothers are prioritizing bicycles for people who are serious about turning their life around and breaking the cycle of homelessness, which is why they like working with COTS.
"We want to fix their mode of transportation so they can hold, get to a job," Nelson Rudolph said. "We want to restore a natural human right."
Anyone wishing to help can find Broken Cycles on Facebook or email the organization at brokency email@example.com.