Sunday, October 4, 2020

Re-Cycling in Howard County


Yesterday Howard County’s local branch of Free Bikes 4 Kidz (known as Free Bikes 4 Kidz Maryland) had a collection day for donated bikes at area fire stations. They received almost five hundred bikes and are looking for more, so if you have a bike to donate, contact them through their website. Last year was Free Bikes 4 Kidz Maryland’s first in our community. From their website:

In 2019, we invested over 1500 hours of volunteer labor to collect 513 bicycles. We were able to refurbish and give away all but 20 of them: 415 to children in need, 38 to Howard County Schools’ Bicycle Safety Program, and 40 to five other nonprofit organizations.

I hadn’t known until today that Free Bikes 4 Kidz is actually a national nonprofit that started in Minneapolis. Right now there are ten affiliate organizations throughout the US. I also hadn’t considered the sustainability aspect of the project, described here:

Every year 25 million bikes are sold in the US. One-third of those bikes are 20” wheel-size, or smaller. Since kids grow like weeds, over 8 million bikes are virtually outgrown each year. Endless supply. Sustainability.

So, donating and refurbishing bikes isn’t just a kind, charitable act that helps children in need. It’s also an environmentally-friendly choice that keeps more bikes on the road and fewer in landfills. And right now while children are primarily homebound for schooling, because of the pandemic, outlets like bike-riding have become even more precious for their physical and emotional well-being.

If you have a bike to donate or are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can check out the group on Facebook or head straight to their (incredibly appealing and easy-to-use) website. I note that they’ll be repairing/refurbishing bikes over the next ten weeks “with stringent covid safety procedures in place” so it appears they have thought of everything. In fact, they’ve recently moved to a new warehouse space which: almost twice the size of last year’s space and is completely open.  We’ll be arranging it with the pandemic in mind, with fans, barriers, and more tools to avoid the need for sharing.

Yep, everything. All they need is you. If you’re not handy but want to support their mission in Howard County, Free Bikes 4 Kidz also accepts charitable donations.

Did you have a bike growing up? Was biking a big part of your life? Let me know

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