Photos and recap of our 16th annual Holiday Bike Drive
On Sunday, December 11th, we provided over 465 bicycles to low-income youth at the 16th annual Holiday Bike Drive. The event, held at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in North Portland, was the culmination of a year’s worth of collecting, cleaning and repairing hundreds of bikes. From January to December, more than 700 volunteers contributed over 6,000 hours to make the Holiday Bike Drive possible.
On the day of the event, over 200 of those volunteers came together, grinning from ear to ear while sharing their skills and enthusiasm. Our volunteers fitted helmets, brewed coffee, prepared delicious food, offered Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese interpretation, took brilliant photos, played marimba, guitar and cello, tightened bolts, added training wheels, taught safety lessons and, most importantly, made sure that every child felt welcomed and comfortable.
The youth who received bikes were pre-registered through over 30 agencies around the Portland Metro region. Upon arriving at the event, families were welcomed into the bike safety education hallway, where a group of energetic volunteers taught fun, engaging lessons about bike and helmet safety. Activities included dropping an egg in a helmet to demonstrate how helmets protect our fragile heads, and comparing safe and unsafe bicycles. Next, the youth entered the atrium, where they chose helmets – generously donated by Trauma Nurses Talk Tough – and had them expertly fitted by a team of experienced volunteers.
Full of newly-acquired wisdom and bursting with anticipation while wearing their newly acquired helmets, the kids got to pick their favorite bicycle. Some children knew right away which bike to take home. For others, it was a longer process, one which required walking up and down the rows, touching the handlebars and examining the colors and design. And whenever a bike was chosen, a new one immediately appeared in its place, thanks to the tireless work of our expert Bike Restockers. After making the big decision, the youth then headed to the mechanic stations, where our volunteer wrenches fitted them to their new bikes. From there, they practiced braking, turning and riding safely in the bike rodeo, then finished the day sipping apple juice and drawing pictures of their new bikes.
Our Program Director, Laura Koch, recognized four parents from Hacienda who received bicycles from a Create a Commuter workshop on November 18th. One of the parents, Maria, talked about how she was still a little nervous riding on the streets but is practicing on a great bike path behind her apartment. Maria’s daughter received a bike at the event. They are both excited to be able to ride together and with other families from Hacienda who received bikes.
Xipe, another Hacienda resident who also participated in the November Create a Commuter workshop, was at Holiday Bike Drive with his three children. Now that his kids have bicycles, they can ride as a family to school, which was one of his goals. It is really wonderful for us to see these familiar faces and know that our programs are helping families feel empowered and inspired to ride their bicycles together.
The Holiday Bike Drive is one of our favorite times of the year, and we are endlessly grateful to the dedicated community of volunteers and donors that make it possible. We would especially like to thank Mike Morrison and Trauma Nurses Talk Tough (TNTT) for donating all of the helmets, and Legacy Emanuel Hospital for hosting.
We would also like to thank our event sponsors: Cycle Oregon, Old Spaghetti Factory, Cyclone Bicycle Supply, Umpqua Bank, TNTT, and Legacy Emanuel Hospital. We received additional in-kind support from Russell Street BBQ, Great Harvest Bread Company, Nossa Familia Coffee, Hot Lips, New Seasons, and Asean Corporation. In addition, a lively crew of musicians contributed so much to the spirit of the event. Finally, the Holiday Bike Drive would be empty without the hundreds of kids and their families who came in, filled the room with their smiles, and rode home on their newly refurbished bicycles.
Please visit our Flickr site to see more pictures from this year’s Holiday Bike Drive.
Photos by Rohith Gunawardena, Lucas Balzer, Greg Lee and Ben Latterell. Video by Chad Berkley.