Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Bike Drive

Since the beginning of September I have been volunteering at the Community Cycling Center. They have been gearing up for their annual Holiday Bike Drive. This is a huge event where they provide over 500 children with their first bike, a bike helmet, and basic safety instruction. It is designed to benefit ages 3 - 8 from low income families. Children are referred to the Holiday Bike Drive by a school, church, or social service agency.

For the most part I was helping refurbish donated bikes. Often I would take the bikes apart and repack the bearings. It was challenging to develop a feeling if a part was not too tight or loose, but just right. The biggest thrill was disassembling a coaster brake, lubing it up, and then putting it back together. I am grateful to those who taught me these skills and encouraged me along the way.

Approaching the sight of the Holiday Bike Drive it was very special to see a kid, helmet on, wheeling their new bike to car. I had not even stepped in the door, but I had already seen how my contribution had made a difference. Inside I found an organized flow of volunteers, parents, and children and all of the bikes lined up. Outside I saw volunteers braving the cold to teach some basic biking skills. I was tasked with fitting kids with a bike helmet. All of them were very patient with me as I adjusted and readjusted the straps of their helmets. Those kids were not the only ones who benefited as I went home and corrected the adjustment of my own helmet.