Community Cycles Puts Kids on Free Bikes

Boulder-based nonprofit Community Cycles held a free kid bike giveaway over the weekend. The event usually occurs just ahead of the holidays in December but was postponed last year due to COVID. The bike advocacy organization spaced out the popular giveaway over two weekends in the parking lot of a former fast food restaurant off Baseline Road.

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“We give away bikes to under-served children in Boulder County with the caveat of they have to be under 12 and I have limited supplies of what the community donates generously,” says Dax Burgos, Shop Director at Community Cycles. He’s responsible for making sure the hundreds of donated bikes are in good working order ahead of the nonprofit’s annual bike giveaway. “It’s a lot of shuffling of volunteers, parts, time in the shop, ordering the right parts, getting stuff…Ultimately it’s nice to see these bikes go away and to invest in our future. Right? Let’s get some kids on bikes!”

Community Cycles usually holds the kid bike giveaway in December, but had to reschedule due to COVID. The date wasn’t the only modification made. “We have tried to make this, kind of ironically for a bike nonprofit organization, kind of a drive-thru event,” says board member Sandee Cirian. “We had people register ahead of time and we spaced them out every 15 mins. We check them in. Then their next stop is to get helmet fitted, which we are also doing, mostly through car windows.”

Unlike the refurbished bikes, the helmets are brand new. They’re donated by Boulder Community Health and include a medical ID inside the helmet with the user’s name, emergency contact information and date of birth so that in the event of an accident, first responders know who to contact.

“I was an ER nurse years ago and typically we have a lot of bike injuries throughout the year,” comments BCH’s Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention Coordinator Joan DePew. “It’s one of the biggest things that I look at with injury prevention. We see a lot of concussions or traumatic brain injuries through bike injuries or other types of sports where people aren’t wearing helmets. So we definitely want to get helmets on everybody we can.”

DePew says that includes also getting helmets onto the heads of the parents so they can provide an example. Leticia and Erica are friends from Longmont who came to pick up bikes for their ten-year old daughters and a trailer to put Erica’s smallest child in. “We’re happy because even her baby got a helmet for her trailer,” says Leticia. “So she’ll be riding along with us.” This is their first time coming to the giveaway. They found out about it online, filled out the form on the website and said the whole process was smooth and easy.

That’s what Carlos said as well. He says he found out about the giveaway through a program his wife participates in. “The kids were excited to come get bicycle,” he said during a Spanish-language interview. “We received helmets and information. It’s well done.” Their small son picked out what would be his first bike with pedals after outgrowing the small glider he trained on.

A section of the former Wendy’s parking lot featured bikes grouped by size, with the most variety available in the smaller frames. These are mostly bikes donated after their original owners outgrew them – donations that are tax deductible. Some bikes have come full circle from past giveaways, exchanged for larger sizes by growing kids.

Volunteer John Boggs says it’s nice to participate in an effort that is a win-win for all involved: “Bikes are mobility, helps them go to school independently, helps them get fit and get out an enjoy the day. So it’s very rewarding because these are people that might not normally get a bike, but because of this Kids Bike Day, we get to get them on a bike. And these are all donated, fixed up by the mechanics at Community Cycles. Some bike shops actually donate trade-in bikes to Community Cycles and that enables us to give them away.”

Once volunteers determine the proper size, the kids are free to browse the appropriate section for whatever model or color they like. “For us, it’s whatever is going to get them riding their bike,” says Community Cycles board member Sandee Cirian. “Loving their bike and riding it is the most important thing.”

In addition to bring back its Kid Bike Giveaway in time for Boulder Valley School District’s Bike to School day, Community Cycles has also reopened its DYI workshop to members at its location on Spruce Street.