A community coming together for a healthy cause

  • Franz Weber with Paying it Forward West Hawaii recently received used bikes from Bicycle Adventures to be repurposed for a healthy cause. (Courtesy Photo/Franz Weber)

Once again, Franz Weber and his Paying It Forward West Hawaii is at it again, this time rallying community support to get used bikes repurposed for a healthy cause.

As most of you already know, Weber, a community sports enthusiast, volunteer extraordinaire, and avid cyclist created and founded Paying It Forward last year. The non-profit organization is designed to provide a platform to help raise funds and offer immediate assistance to those in need.

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Since the start of his non-profit, Weber, who is also the president of the Hawaii Cycling Club, has received an ongoing flow of requests — from purchasing Chromebooks and clothing, to child car seats and wheelchairs, to school supplies and nutritious snacks for the children of Kahaluu Housing Project.

Other times, Weber receives inquiries of how a person or organization can donate products back into the community. The most recent one came from Bicycle Adventures.

“Bicycle Adventures organizes group bike tours worldwide, and they have a company here in Kona,” Weber said. “I got an email from them as they would like to donate 15 road bikes and two first-generation electric bikes back to the community. I then tried to figure out what a good use would be.”

It didn’t take long for Weber to think of West Hawaii Community Health Center’s (WHCHC) free adult bike classes offered once per month to help patients get healthy and fit, and reached out to Claudia Hartz.

“I worked with her in the past conducting bike classes for adults and for people with medical challenges and health issues,” Weber said. “Previously they used PATH’s BikeShare bikes. Claudia was very enthusiastic and said she would resume having regular scheduled bike classes again for her health challenged clients.”

Working quickly, Weber then contacted Brad Weinmann at Kona Sports Center as he knew the donated bikes would need repairs. Weinmann immediately offered his help. The two electric bikes will be repurposed into commuter bikes and will be given to those who currently have jobs but lack transportation.

“West Hawaii Community Health Center has offered a lot of free classes open to the public from zoomba to hula to yoga,” Weber said. “They really want to support the health improvement of the local community. They have a lot of clients who are underprivileged, or challenged in a lot of ways, so any way to improve their health and wellbeing would be great. Through this, it shows how the community and different organizations come together for the benefit of everyone.

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“What I really like about it is, it just takes a facilitator. All the good will and opportunities are out there, they exist — it’s all here in our community. We just need someone to put it together, that’s all, and I just happen to be at the right place at the right time.”

For more information about the free adult bike classes and community fitness activities contact Franz Weber at FIM2020@outlook.com. Bike classes will begin in September at the West Hawaii Community Health Center.

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