Recycling center explains bike piles

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Many of you have probably seen your fair share of teal VeoRide bikes around the area.

They’re part of a program that lets you pay through an app for the time you ride. All you do is find a bike, put your information in, and start riding. This means the bikes are easy to recognize, making a big pile of them easy to spot.

Lately, some people have been seeing a lot of them at one recycling center in Urbana. Mack’s Twin City Recycling General Manager Corey Mathis says he’s been getting phone calls from concerned drivers about almost daily.

“A lot of people think we’re just buying them from customers, people of the streets, doing something illegal,” said Mathis.

VeoRide representatives say the reason is fairly simple. “The bikes you’ve seen recycled are bikes that we’ve seen that have run their course; their life cycle. Those bikes that have been recycles have had over a year and a half of use,” said Thomas.

It might be a little unsightly, but Thomas says it all goes along with the mission of the company.

“We’re about sustainability. If we’re recycling those, we see the benefit in recycling them instead of just taking them to the dump and just tossing them.”

It’s not about turning a profit. The aluminum breakage found in the bikes makes VeoRide about $0.08 a pound. Despite how large the piles may seem, it’s nothing compared to the 500 bikes that are out on the roads.

“We’re one of the best markets in the nation when it comes to bikes, and we’re really proud of that. And that goes to show how much we’ve maintained the bikes and kept them out and making sure our users are riding safe bikes. But also that they’re comfortable and usable and get them to their destination,” said Thomas.

Out of those 500 bikes, about half of those will soon be electric. They started phasing those electric bikes in starting in April. VeoRide is working to bring scooters to the community, too, but they’re not quite there. They plan to start that process with city leaders in the fall.

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