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Giving Rye: Meet Linking Handlebars

(PHOTO: Adriane DeFeo, director of Linking Handlebars.)
(PHOTO: Adriane DeFeo, director of Linking Handlebars.)

Giving Rye is a new occasional feature highlighting non-profits and community groups in and around the City of Rye. Today meet Adriane DeFeo of Linking Handlebars.

Your Name: Adriane DeFeo

Organization: Linking Handlebars, Inc.

Your role: Director

(PHOTO: A Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Pennington Elementary School in Mt. Vernon with Linking Handlebars members, Westchester Cycle Club mechanics and the Pennington PTA.)
(PHOTO: A Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Pennington Elementary School in Mt. Vernon with Linking Handlebars members, Westchester Cycle Club mechanics and the Pennington PTA.)

MyRye.com: Tell us your organization’s mission.

DeFeo: A community collective committed to promoting healthier lifestyles for disadvantaged youths in Lower Westchester by distributing bicycles and helmets. We provide children the opportunity to experience all the benefits of cycling including exercise, transportation, and enjoyment of the outdoors.

How long have you operated in Rye?

DeFeo: 11 years, since 2012. 

(PHOTO: A Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle with Lila Capparelli, Sophie Molitor and Adriane DeFeo.)
(PHOTO: A Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle with Lila Capparelli, Sophie Molitor and Adriane DeFeo.)

What programming or work in Rye is the organization best known for?

DeFeo: We are a local Rye organization that was founded by my daughters and two friends. My son soon joined and various local youths also volunteer. I am currently running the organization with my children’s help when needed, especially during the giveaways. 

We collect gently-used bicycles and our volunteer mechanics from Westchester Cycle Club refurbish and test ride them at my house every Tuesday throughout the year. We enjoy camaraderie with Grandpa’s pizza from Sunrise and refreshments. We also celebrate birthdays…who can resist Longford’s ice cream cake? WCC donates new helmets also. Danny’s Cycles collects bicycles and transports them to my house. 

(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Carver Center in Port Chester with Lucia Villani, Cristiana Villani and Julia Bateman.)
(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Carver Center in Port Chester with Lucia Villani, Cristiana Villani and Julia Bateman.)

When bikes are ready to go, I contact a local service center and organize the giveaway to underprivileged children. Some companies include the Carver Center, Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, Hope Community Center, Community Resource Center, various elementary schools in Mt. Vernon, and foster organizations. 

We have 3-4 giveaways every year; about 350 bicycles each year. Each child is fitted on a bicycle of their choice and a new helmet. (We started at 30 bikes each year back in 2012.) Some mechanics even take it a step further and teach the basics of riding a bike to first timers. The mechanics’ enthusiasm helps break the child’s fear. Some children return their bikes when they outgrow them and get a bigger one. Parents are thrilled and so are we! We are steering children toward greatness one bicycle at a time. What a joy to see these children glow with a gift of a bicycle! Excited to be part of a team that has given away over 3,000 bikes! That’s a lot of smiles.

(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars loading up a U-Haul for a bike giveaway. Left to right: Kas Kasprowicz (WCC mechanic and driver), Luca Villani, Edward Lawrence, Sophie Bross, Cristiana Villani with Kaya the dog and Ben Roath.)
(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars loading up a U-Haul for a bike giveaway. Left to right: Kas Kasprowicz (WCC mechanic and driver), Luca Villani, Edward Lawrence, Sophie Bross, Cristiana Villani with Kaya the dog and Ben Roath.)

Looking forward to 2024, what will be your top initiatives? 

DeFeo: 

  1. We need more mechanics to keep up with the workload of fixing the bikes and more volunteers to clean the bikes and then enjoy giving them away. We usually get high school students who need volunteer service hours.
  2. We need additional storage space.
  3. Increased awareness of our organization of where to simply drop off their donation and keep usable bikes out of the trash or being left on the curb for parts.
  4. Monetary donations to offset cost of repairs & parts to increase our number of bikes available for giveaway.

Are you a 501(c)(3) non-profit with tax exempt status? 

DeFeo: Yes

(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle. Left to right: Luca Villani, co-president; Lucia Villani, co-president; Adriane DeFeo, director; Cristiana Villani, vice president.)
(PHOTO: Linking Handlebars bike giveaway at Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle. Left to right: Luca Villani, co-president; Lucia Villani, co-president; Adriane DeFeo, director; Cristiana Villani, vice president.)

Looking back across 2023, what were your organization’s top achievements?

DeFeo:  

  1. We have been able to give away more bikes this year than any other year due to the increased donations because of the strong community awareness of our group.
  2. Collaborating with Danny’s Cycles to encourage donations to our group during the bicycle sale process.
  3. Our volunteer mechanics, despite the limited number we have, were dedicated and worked long hours to handle all of our group’s needs to make this the best year yet. Through the year they trained new volunteers to increase our capacity.

Tell us about you:

How long have you been in your current role? 

DeFeo: Since 2012

Is the role full time or part time? Paid or volunteer? 

DeFeo: Volunteer; I am a real estate agent working tirelessly in this dynamic market; I am a single parent; and landlord of investment properties.

How would your friends and family describe you in one word?

DeFeo: Energetic.

Pick one:

DeFeo: 

MyRye.com

Select from:

Your Pick:
Coke or Pepsi? coke
Regular or diet? regular
Action movie or rom com? action
Cook, order in or eat out? eat out
Dog, cat or no pet? dog
Balsamic vinaigrette or ranch? balsamic vinaigrette
Ruffles Original, Lay’s Barbeque or Funyuns? Lays
Still, sparkling or tap? tap

 

What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?

DeFeo: My oldest daughter pampers me when I visit her in Florida, my younger daughter serves me breakfast in bed, and my son cooks my favorite foods for my birthday.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why, and who would you take with you? 

DeFeo: Italy, food is always delicious, wine is plenty, beaches and water are gorgeous. I would go with my children; they are great company and always do all the planning.

What is your favorite movie? 

DeFeo: The Notebook

Where do you live in Rye: 

DeFeo: 169 Theodore Fremd Avenue [note: this is where the group receives bike donations]. Lived in Rye 54/57 years.

Thanks, Adriane 

Organization’s website.

Facebook.

Instagram.

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