Bike shop on mission to bring rides, repairs to community
Krank Cycles set to give away bikes to Molokai keiki on Saturday
Krank Cycles Maui is spreading joy one bike at a time.
Through a volunteer-based “Maui Bike Mission” program, the longtime Makawao bicycle shop facilitates bike donations and offers free repair services for those who need it most in the community.
Focusing mainly on keiki, those living in remote areas or those who can’t afford to fix their own bicycles across Maui County, Krank Cycles’ next pit stop is Molokai, where about 40 to 50 donated bicycles will be given away beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Molokai Youth Center in Kaunakakai.
Molokai residents are also invited to bring bicycles to be fixed for free at the event.
Store owner Aaron “Moose” Reichert on Monday afternoon said that families “just light up” during the missions, “so it’s cool seeing that we can be in the community and truly just give.”
“It’s just up to us to bring our passion and skill set,” Reichert said.
With the mission now stretching across multiple islands, Cole Christie, who has been working for Krank for two years, said he is most excited to be working with and for all of the new faces in Kaunakakai.
“I was fortunate enough to be a part of every Krank bicycle mission,” Christie said Monday night. “My favorite part of these events have been working with the Hawaii community. The goal was and still is to get bicycles in the hands of individuals that have been out of reach of a bicycle shop or short on funds to receive proper service.
“That being said, I’ve personally gained a better understanding of how much community support there is across the islands to support such an awesome cause,” he added.
Krank Cycles Maui, one of the island’s original bicycle shops, sells and repairs bicycles and gear Upcountry, but the store also has been involved in annual community events and public outreaches for years, such as the Boys and Girls Club/Jim Falk Christmas Bike Giveaway, Pedal IMUA, YMCA Keiki Triathlon and Maui Mountain Bike Coalition’s trail building and fundraising events, Reichert said.
Krank Cycles has also partnered with Maui Rescue Mission and The Salvation Army to repair transit bikes for free for residents.
When the initial COVID-19 lockdown happened in March 2020, Krank Cycles got to work. The business launched a volunteer-based “Maui Bike Mission” in which they transformed a Sprinter van into a mobile bicycle repair shop and went door-to-door to repair bikes.
Krank Cycles eventually responded to a call in Iao Valley, Reichert said. There were five different families living on the property, including about 17 kids, with the majority under the age of 13.
The team salvaged 14 of the 18 bikes that were found in riverbeds and in the bushes. Through “tears of gratitude,” Reichert said he had the idea to continue this type of mission in Hana.
“We were like, ‘Oh man, we can be a much better service to our community than going door-to-door,’ so that’s where it started,” he said.
With a large collection of donated bikes, which were repaired and recycled for free for keiki first and then adults, the Krank Cycles crew drove out to East Maui after Hana Highway reopened and the blockades were removed.
Over a total of three trips, mainly to Hana and Keanae, more than 200 bikes were given away and more than 300 were repaired.
A few months ago, “Maui Bike Mission” was brought to Lanai with the assistance of Trilogy Excursions. Nearly 50 bikes were given away to the community and more than 200 bikes were repaired in a single day.
Being able to give someone the “joy and freedom of riding a bike” is what inspires the bicycle drives but also kept the volunteer mechanics upbeat throughout the whole morning and afternoon while truckloads of bikes were being dropped off.
“This little girl came and traded in a bike that had training wheels that were too small for her and we had another bike that fit her,” Reichert said. “All day long she was riding around the Lanai Service Station and around the parking lot. Just doing laps, like all day, and every time she passed, her face was just lit up and had the biggest smile just because she was riding a bike that fit. Just the joy of a bike and that just kept me going all day.”
Krank Cycle volunteers head to Molokai on Friday and plan to return on Sunday.
“The smiles for miles never gets old and the Krank team cannot wait to get back to it,” Christie said.
Reichert said he hopes to continue “Maui Bike Mission” in the future, but is still figuring out the logistics of the program, adding that the goal is just to “spread the stoke” in the community and inspire others to get involved.
“It’s been cool because we’ve done lots of community stuff,” Reichert said. “The bottom line of this is getting the word out, like, you can take whatever you do in your life that is special to you and you can help people with it.”
For information, visit www.krankmaui.com/.
* Dakota Grossman can be reached at email@example.com.