On the morning of the Bikes for Tykes giveaway, volunteers scrambled to organize the sea of bikes that were selected by size and color for each child on their list. Bingham's mechanics and a few volunteer mechanics walked around doing a final inspection of each bike- replacing tubes, pumping tires, tightening pedals, and adjusting headsets. Other volunteers scurried around, making sure each detail was perfect before welcoming children and their families.
All of these volunteers have been brought together through a collaboration between Bingham Cyclery, WomenMTB, MTB Enthusiasts of Utah and the Bicycle Collective that began last year. They wanted to find a way to build the confidence of the youngest members of our community by enabling more children to ride bikes. Last year the Bikes for Tykes giveaway was such a huge success that they decided to extend the program to the children in Ogden as well.
Getting Kids on Bikes
Raeshell Sutherland, the founder of WomenMTB, a local non-profit focused on getting more women on bikes, believes that riding a bike is a childhood rite of passage. We've all heard the research about exercise and fitness being an important factor for physical health, mental acuity, and emotional well being.
Researchers at Stanford have even shown that riding a bike can be a powerful contributing treatment for children with ADHD. But Raeshell also believes that "learning to ride a bike brings independence, and owning a bike brings responsibility, two important skills necessary to becoming a successful adult."
Our Volunteers, Donors, and YOU
By working with Bingham Cyclery, WomenMTB, and Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, Raeshell was able to organize Bikes for Tykes again this year- giving away nearly 100 bikes, helmets, water bottles, and locks to the children in our community. Clint Watson, from Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, supplied bikes and helped find the right bike for each child. Bingham Cyclery designated Bikes for Tykes as our feature charity, and was able to raise over $750 in retail stores, and provided locks for each bike.
Several of Bingham Cyclery's employees donated their time, working on bikes, or welcoming families at the event (or like Michelle from our Ogden location who organized and oversaw the Ogden giveaway), or getting things ready months before (like Sandra Escareno who designed the Bikes for Tykes logo and donated her photography skills). Local Bingham ambassadors (like Brooke Froelich), organized giveaways and advertising on social media.
Rae would call herself a "nag," but she was the glue that held the project together, while she worked to recruit and manage volunteers, reached out to donors, and oversaw and orchestrated the fundraiser.
Really, our donors made Bikes for Tykes possible. We raised close to $3,500 for the program this year! Our community was so excited and supportive of helping get children on bikes- we even had donors from across the country. Raeshell thanks all who helped, saying "Children are the future of any community. Strong, healthy, active children, mean the same type of society. Teaching a child to ride a bike gives them the opportunity to learn life skills, and gives them a positive passion or, if nothing else, a healthy past time that gets the outside in the sun, instead of in front of a screen."
At the end of the day, Rae believes that "more than anything else, childhood should be fun and mostly carefree. What better way to accomplish this than bussing around on two wheels?"
Thank you to all who donated, volunteered, and brought love to the children and families in our community!