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Kelly Pack, Manager of Trail Development
202.974.5148; (cell) 304.444.2578

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Gives Beacon House Students Free Bikes

Washington, D.C., October 23, 2009 – Local students from Beacon House, a Washington, D.C., tutoring and mentoring organization, will receive free bicycles, locks, helmets and safety instruction today, as part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) Metropolitan Grants Program, funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation. RTC is giving away $20,000 in bicycles and equipment to the underserved area students.

The bicycle giveaway is part of RTC's ongoing commitment to provide amenities, resources and opportunities to Ward 5 residents near the newly constructed Metropolitan Branch Trail. RTC hopes to encourage trail use and community ownership of the new walking and bicycling trail.

"Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is committed to creating equitable, healthy recreation and transportation opportunities for residents near urban rail-trails and pathways," said RTC President Keith Laughlin. "Giving bicycles, safety equipment and training to local students is one way we hope to facilitate use of the Metropolitan Branch Trail."

The Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) is providing the bicycle safety course for the students who receive bikes. WABA is a long-standing advocate for the completion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. As envisioned, the trail would connect Washington, D.C.'s Union Station with Silver Spring, Md., loosely following Metro Transit's red line. The trail would provide non-motorized access to five libraries, five colleges and universities, seven Metro stations, eight recreation centers and playgrounds, 28 schools and 47 places of worship.

The bicycle giveaway will take place on the trail near Beacon House, located in the Edgewood Terrace neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Beacon House offers educational, cultural, recreational and athletic programs to roughly 400 children and youth, ages 5 – 18, from low-income families, per year.

"This bicycle giveaway is a tremendous enhancement to the lives of the students receiving them," said president and founder of Beacon House, Rev. Donald Robinson. "Our students tend not to be able to afford bicycles and rarely leave their immediate neighborhoods. These bicycles will give our youth the means to get around the city to school, jobs, relatives and friends, as well as to recreate and lead healthier lives. We are tremendously grateful and thrilled to be partnering with the Coca-Cola Foundation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy."

Working with the Coca-Cola Foundation, RTC is committed to expanding the use of rail-trails in urban areas across the nation. Many neighborhoods in major urban areas face the challenges of obesity, congestion and scarcity of open space. In addition to the Metropolitan Grants Program, in 2009 RTC launched its Urban Pathways Initiative, enabling communities to become part of the solution. Rail-trails and urban pathways provide opportunities for healthier living, which in turn effect positive change in neighborhoods where the demand for improved health and community empowerment is greatest.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037