Riverton teen’s charity effort in honor of deceased father brings in more than 500 bikes

Posted at 10:22 PM, Apr 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-06 00:29:57-04

RIVERTON, Utah -- On March 12 of last year, two Riverton men, Bryan Byrge and John Coons, died while biking to work when they were hit by a car on Redwood Road in Lehi, and both men left families behind. Now, as the anniversary of their deaths approached this year, their families turned to each other for strength.

Bryan's widow, Katie Byrge, told FOX 13 News, "Our kids wanted to get together with the Coons family and wanted to be involved with something on that day, to honor and commemorate, and help them get through that day, and then it kind of snowballed with Braxton wanting to do his Eagle [Scout] project."

A bike drive called 'Love on Two Wheels' was organized. Word went out among friends, family, community and church members that Braxton would be at his local LDS Church ward house on a particular evening to collect used bikes to be given to a local charity.

He'd hoped to for 50 bikes, but ended up with many, many more.

"Around 8:30, we got like a hundred bikes in five minutes. It was unreal," Braxton Byrge said.

By the end of the drive, there were 520 bikes.

"I was pretty proud of the turnout and, like, what my family and John Coons, the other man that died that day, his family, what we all did together. It was pretty cool," Braxton said.

The donated bikes were delivered to the Bicycle Collective of Salt Lake City.

The Collective is a non-profit established in 2002 which has been refurbishing used bikes one at a time, and giving them away free of charge to those in need--including children who get referred to the Collective through a variety of social service entities, and adult refugees recently placed in Utah. Some of them will rely upon their bicycles as their first source of transportation in America.

Braxton's 'Love on Two Wheels Campaign' produced the Collective's largest single donation to date. So large, the Collective initially struggled with where to store the bikes. Executive Director David Eyre Davis reached out to a local developer who allowed him to store the bikes in a vacant warehouse until May 1.

The Collective, which relies primarily on a volunteer work force, is now hoping for a few extra helpers in the next few weeks as they process Braxton's donation and integrate the bikes into their inventory and programs.

Eyre says even those without experience with bike repair would be welcome, adding, "If you're curious at all about how your bike works, we can teach you how to do that, and along the way you'll help kids and refugees, and our community to just be stronger."

You can learn more about the Bicycle Collective online at or by calling them at 801-FAT-BIKE