Volunteers roll out 33 new bikes for children by Emery Cowan of The Gazette
As Cody Tarver and Jakeob Olson turned the corner onto Bijou Street they let the brakes go, speeding down the hill on their brand new bikes. The sun’s last golden rays glinted off the bikes’ electric blue paint.
The teens, both of whom live at Urban Peak group home, were two of 33 teens and children from around the community who will receive new bicycles as a part of the Freedom from Poverty Community Celebration on July 8 at America the Beautiful Park.
The park celebration, which will begin at 2 p.m., will also include music, food, a bike rodeo and an appearance by Cycling for Change, a team of 12 riders cycling across the country to promote poverty reduction.
To prepare for the bike giveaway, more than 20 volunteers from around the community gathered Wednesday evening to assemble the 33 bicycles. Pizza and M&Ms made the get together more like a neighborhood potluck as people formed small groups to tackle each bike.
For each one, the volunteers, some bike experts some not, popped in wheels, fastened pedals and screwed on handlebars. By the end, most had whittled the process down to 20 minutes per bike.
The bicycle giveaway is co-sponsored by local nonprofits Kids on Bikes and Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs. Each bike recipient was nominated by local non profit agencies including the Marian House, Partners in Housing and Urban Peak.
“Every kid should have one,” said Rev. Michael O’Donnell of Catholic Charities. “It’s not a childhood without a bike.”
Metro Rides funded the cost of the bikes, which were provided at cost by Giant Bicycle.
Although most bikes will be presented to their new owners in the park next week, Kids on Bikes executive director Lindsey Arkfeld told Tarver and Olson they could ride their bikes back to Urban Peak after they had finished volunteering on Wednesday.
If their stories of past bicycling adventures are any indication of the future, those electric blue bikes will be getting their fair share of use.