Dublin repair shop seeks unwanted bikes for Ukrainian refugees

The owner of a Dublin bike shop is looking for donations of old or unwanted bikes to refurbish and pass on to Ukrainian refugees.

Paul McQuaid, who runs River Cycles next to the James Joyce Bridge on Usher’s Island, provided free bike repairs to hospital staff and other frontline workers early on in the Covid-19 pandemic.

He is now asking people who have bikes they no longer use to make them available to Ukrainian families.

“So many bikes are lying in people’s sheds or at the end of their gardens that could be put to good use and make a little difference to people’s lives while they’re here.”

McQuaid will accept adult and child bike offers and asks that, if possible, owners send him a photo so he can assess their condition.

“I’m not looking for anything fancy, the dustier the better, I just need to see they’re in reasonable condition, but I have all the parts to get them back on the road. ” Donations of locks and lights would also be appreciated, he said.

He got the idea after a friend sent him details of a Ukrainian woman who had recently arrived with her two children and needed a way to get them to school.

“It was just a little thing that I could do for Maria and the kids. I had bikes that I could give them, but I want to do this on a bigger scale, and for that I will need people to help me. ‘bring bikes that I can pass on.

Maria Mezhenska and her family fled kyiv two days after the start of the war, going first to western Ukraine, where her husband is. She then crossed the border with her son Mark (13) and daughter Mirra (8) into Moldova. From there she traveled to Romania and Hungary, before flying to Ireland from Budapest.

Maria Mezhenska and her family fled kyiv two days after the start of the war, going first to western Ukraine, where her husband is. Photography: Dara MacDonail

“Everywhere we went, it was already so full. We don’t know anyone in Ireland, we had never been there, but my son, we had talked about taking him to Dublin this summer for a language school. We had planned this, looked at Dublin and we started to like Ireland, that’s why we came.

Shortly after arriving in Ireland, they learned that their home had been destroyed.

“Our house burned down last Friday. We had a very good new house, we built it three years ago. There are still neighbors there, and they told us. We don’t have a house now.

Since arriving in Ireland, the family have been staying at the Holiday Inn at Dublin Airport, but it is some distance from the schools where the children have been placed.

“Schools are a bit of a walk away. I wrote on Facebook about our situation and asked if people had any bikes or scooters we could use. A woman, she said, her friend Paul would write to me. He contacted me and I went to his store and he gave us bikes,” she says.

“The Irish have been very kind, very generous. I think the kids feel better now than they did somewhere else on the path.

People who want to donate a bike or locks and other accessories, and Ukrainians who need bikes can email [email protected] or WhatsApp 086 2656258.

Wiley C. Thompson