With all the non-profit bike organizations in Chicago such as Working Bikes, West Town Bikes, the Recyclery, Bikes N’ Roses, and Blackstone Bicycle Works, is there room for another non-profit devoted to bikes? Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a national non-profit that focuses on collecting and donating bikes for kids, now has a Chicago chapter that promises to fill a void with their focus on bikes for kids.
The idea behind Free Bikes 4 Kidz comes from these marketplace facts:
There are a lot of benefits when kids ride bikes. These include:
The original plan was to have a bike collection drive in early April. Over 30 locations were identified where people could drop off kid bikes. Then on one day, within a 4 hours period, 24 trucks were to be dispatched to each drop off location to collect the bikes and take them to a central warehouse, a 18,000 square foot location at Elston and Cortland where the bikes would be staged for 10 weeks. At the warehouse, bikes would cleaned and fixed by volunteers. Before a bike was ready for distribution it would go through a quality assurance process for safety. Once the bikes were ready, they would be distributed by two methods:
When the program resumes many volunteers will be needed. Key areas to get involved are:
Since Free Bikes 4 Kidz was put on hold due to Covid-19, it will need to start over again next year. There is an opportunity for individuals to participate in any of the key volunteer areas or as a group or corporate activity in a night at the warehouse. With our help we can make bikes available to kids who need them and have fun working with each other in the process.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories