I walked into a small office space located in the Edgehill Village complex just a few blocks from Belmont University. R&B music was playing softly from a laptop sitting on a long table. It, along with a few chairs, were pushed up next to a brightly colored, orange wall on one side of the room. The rest of the space was packed with bicycles.
New bikes, old bikes, large bikes, small bikes.
Bikes of every color.
There was even a large blue tricycle in the center of the room.
At the end of the table sat a man filled with a passion to impact lives and make Nashville a great place to live. He sat in his chair relaxed, head bobbing, listening to the music. He saw me and his eyes filled with excitement at the opportunity to share what he does for his community through the Edgehill Bike Club.
Terry Key is the CEO and founder of the Edgehill Bike Club and he is determined to make a difference. I took a seat at the table and he began telling me the story of how it all started.
What started as a simple act of kindness, just passing out bikes to those in the Edgehill community, quickly grew into an organization recognized locally and, recently, nationally for its positive effects on the community, he said.
The Edgehill Bike Club is a non-profit organization which supplies bikes to local children and young adults in the low income community.
The goal of the club is to inspire and teach the younger community in particular about the importance of establishing principles to build a better life. The bikes give the kids something to do, keeps them out of trouble and sparks positivity throughout the community.
“I didn’t know it would blow up like this,” Key said.
The Edgehill Bike Club has grown tremendously in the short time it has been functioning. Key and his crew have distributed more than 200 bikes since the club first began in July of 2013.
His desire to make a difference sparked when Key moved to the Edgehill area due to the 2010 flood. His home was destroyed and he lost everything, but was determined to start over and had some big plans in mind for his new community.
He discovered a local church and found people who led him to volunteer with Hands On Nashville. The organization happened to be handing out free bicycles the time Key volunteered and he fell in love with the concept after seeing smiles on the children’s faces when they received a bike of their own.
After volunteering, Key received a call from a person offering that 40 bikes were all his if he could pick them up. Key found a truck, brought the bikes to the Edgehill community, and gave them away almost instantly.
“People came out of nowhere for those bikes,” Key said.
After handing out the bikes, a few days passed and Key began receiving knocks on his door. The children who received bikes began asking for Key’s help.
They needed a flat tire patched. They needed chains tightened. They needed repairs.
This is when the Edgehill Bike Club officially began.
Key bought T-shirts, organized group events and bike rides, and helped children repair their bikes.
These bike rides allowed members to travel through all of Nashville. Edgehill, downtown, you name it. Kids were spending their afternoons biking five to 10 miles through the city, seeing some things that were just a few blocks away for the very first time, he said.
After each bike ride and event, more and more children and young adults wanted their own bikes. So Key kept getting bikes, repairing them with the community help and giving them away.
Before long, Key began witnessing bike club members helping others repair their bikes and organizing their own bike rides. Key had made a difference, just like he hoped to do when he first moved to the community.
“If the bikes mean that much, I’m going to keep doing it,” Key said.
By utilizing Facebook, Key networked with local people and businesses to help spread the word about the bike club. He also shared photos and videos of the Edgehill Bike Club in the community. Through this, he’s become a local star, gaining attention within Nashville, other organizations and news outlets.
Gerry Scott noticed Key’s impact on the community as well. Scott was approached and asked to work with and manage the club by Key. Hesitant at first due to an already busy schedule, Scott declined. But after viewing the club’s Facebook page and researching the impact Key had on the community, Scott agreed.
“It’s enabled me to help kids and families who otherwise would not have positive and inspiring activities for their kids. There are few joys greater than seeing a young person embrace a positive and inspiring group,” Scott said.
The Edgehill Bike Club, featured on local television stations, in local newspapers, and, most recently, nationally by the Awesome Foundation, has received a lot of attention. The Awesome Foundation grants $1,000 to various organizations and people each month who make a difference in the world.
And Key may have made an awesome impact on the community in more ways than one. Edgehill’s overall crime rate had decreased by approximately 15 percent over a span of several months according to www.crimemapping.com. The rate had decreased since the club’s start prior to those few months. The positive influence the club shares and continues to share throughout the local youth is incredible.
“It is rare…to stumble upon someone as passionate and driven to shape a community into a positive environment. I’m very glad to be working with Terry to make that dream a reality,” Scott said.
The Edgehill Bike Club is in need of donations. If you have helmets, tires, bike repair kits, other bike parts and accessories, or even a bike that you would like to donate, contact Terry Key through the Edgehill Bike Club fan page on Facebook. Volunteers are also welcomed to ride with children during events and help refurbish bikes. Money donations can be made through www.edgehillbikeclub.org.