Editor’s Note: The following announcement comes from Jeff Trauring with Snow Communications and Free Bikes 4 Kidz.
Inside a nondescript warehouse on 11th Avenue in Hopkins, thousands of recently-donated bikes are waiting to be donated to local families in need this holiday season. Free Bikes 4 Kidz, the Hopkins-based non-profit organization held its fifth-annual bicycle donation drive on October 13 and according to the group’s founder Terry Esau, the event was a major success.
“We started Free Bikes 4 Kidz five years ago with a simple mission: provide free bicycles to kids and families in need,” said Esau. “I think even we are sometimes surprised at how quickly things have taken off. On October 13 we had about 50 donation spots across the metro thanks to our partnership with Allina Health, and it was a very busy day.”
According to Esau, about 5,300 bikes were donated this year. That improves upon last year’s total of 5,000, and is a huge increase from the 1,500 bikes received in 2010.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz now needs volunteers to help refurbish the bikes in time for a mass giveaway on December 1. Common tasks include inflating tires, tightening screws and greasing gears. No technical skills are required, although experienced bike mechanics are in high demand.
“The Twin Cities has a very vibrant biking community that also happens to be very generous,” says Esau. “Thanks to that generosity and our many volunteers we have become the single largest distributor of free bikes in the United States.”
Esau is not content with keeping things local, either. His goal is to expand into other regional markets beginning next year.