Holiday Bike Drive Returns!
It has been two years since the Community Cycling Center (CCC) has been able to host its annual Holiday Bike Drive event at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Before COVID-19 times, CCC worked with various community partners to identify children in need of bicycles, and Trauma Nurses Talk Tough would order brand new helmets so children remain safe in the saddle. CCC’s part was to provide finely tuned bikes, safety lessons and event magic to bring the community together.
Through this collective effort, upwards of 400 children would receive a new bicycle and helmet that they could use all year round to play with their friends or bike to school. While Portland is one of the friendliest cities for bicycling, we recognize bicycling is not accessible to marginalized communities. Holiday Bike Drive’s mission is to pave a path to access so more people can experience the joy and empowerment a bicycle can provide.
With Holiday Bike Drive on hold, we pivoted like the rest of businesses around the globe who were reeling from a new restrictive reality. How can we make sure that children still have access to bikes without congregating indoors with 100’s of people? This quandary is what inspired a new program: Community Bike Drives. The mission is the same – get as many children on bikes as possible, and teach them safety lessons. The difference is that CCC offers Community Bike Drives in the spring, summer and fall AND the bikes and helmets are delivered door to door. This new program avoids crowd congregations, and allows CCC to connect with more families throughout Portland more frequently.
After two years of not being able to host an in person Holiday Bike Drive event, we were thrilled to adapt to COVID-19 safety measures, and match children to bicycles. This December, we partnered with Head Start and brought 102 bikes and helmets to children from low-income households. We did this by hosting two micro-Holiday Bike Drive events at Kelly Elementary School and Clarendon Elementary School.
At each event, CCC staff were bundled and masked-up under the covered basketball court where they built stations to meet the needs of each family. The order of operations went like this:
- First, Children were fitted to their new helmets provided by Trauma Nurses Talk Tough.
- Then, Community Cycling Center staff and volunteers helped kids pick out their dream bike, making sure it’s sized correctly. (A few Spiderman superfans even found Spiderman-themed bicycles!)
- Finally, the kids rode a fun course to practice safety skills and get acquainted with their new two-wheeled friends. With the help of our Bike Club Instructors onsite, a couple of children even learn how to ride for the first time! In between each station was laughter and excitement from young children and their families. It was an incredibly heartwarming experience on two very cold days.
“There’s something really special about watching kids riding a bike for the first time knowing that it’s just the beginning of longer journeys and happy rides makes these events that much better” ~ Event Volunteer
Check out what our Executive Director, Momoko Saunders, has to say about this Holiday Bike Drive in KATU 2’s story.
Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers and community partners who made this event possible. Extra special thanks to all of our sponsors who supported this year’s Holiday Bike Drive: AWS Elemental, Berkshire Ginsberg Law, Digital One, Fairway America, Ideas Collide, Lyft, Metro, Point West Bank and TriMet.