FREE BIKES 4 KIDZ Utah is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to kids who would not otherwise have the means to afford them. FB4K was founded by a group of community-minded cyclists in Minneapolis in 2008 and gave away 300 bikes the first year. Since then, FB4K has expanded to eight states (and counting) and has given away over 60,000 kids’ bikes to low-income families.
It’s a no-brainer. Every year 25 million bikes are sold in the U.S. and one-third of those are kids’ bikes (20” wheels or smaller). Since kids grow like weeds, millions of bikes are outgrown each year. Many of those bikes just end up in garages gathering dust for years until they find their way to a landfill. Why not funnel this endless supply of bikes to kids who will use them?
FB4K’s model is simple. Stage One is to collect as many bikes as possible on a single day in early October. The bikes are taken to a warehouse – generously donated by a local real estate company – where they are inventoried and organized by size. In Stage Two, volunteers work throughout October and November to clean, repair, and refurbish the bikes. Meanwhile, FB4K works with community organizations to identify qualified recipients and pre-register them for a bike. Stage Three takes place in mid-December when the kids come to the FB4K warehouse to pick out their “new” bike along with a helmet.
This year’s Bike Collection Events will be held Saturday, October 5th from 9am-4pm at Nate Wade Subaru (1207 South Main Street, SLC) and from 1pm-4pm at Craftoberfest in South Salt Lake’s Creative Industries Zone (2511 South West Temple). Guthrie Bicycle also accepts bike donations daily at both Sugarhouse and Bountiful locations. This year’s goal is 1,000 bikes.
Volunteers of all mechanical skill levels – including zero – are welcome and can sign up for available shifts through the FB4KUtah.org website. Volunteers are assigned one of three positions based on their ability: Cleaners get the bikes looking good, then Preppers fix flats and take care of minor issues, and finally Mechanics fix major issues and perform a thorough safety check.
FB4K does not distribute bikes to individual families directly, but instead works with local non-profits and community organizations that provide outreach and services to those in need. For information on how your organization can apply for bikes, please contact FB4K Utah through their website.
Pretty cool program, huh? If you’re fresh out of spare kids’ bikes and don’t have time to volunteer, financial donations are always greatly appreciated to help buy helmets, tools, spare parts, shop supplies, and cover operating costs.
For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, visit FB4KUtah.org