Metro Detroit partners hope to collect 5,000 bikes for kids – The Oakland Press

A Metro Detroit partnership, Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit, aims to distribute thousands of bikes to children across Michigan.

From 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 2nd, anyone can donate used bikes at Home Depot locations across Michigan. These bikes will be shipped to Piston Group’s 30,000 square foot warehouse on 4015 Michigan Avenue in Detroit for refurbishment.

Volunteers work in the camp to prepare bicycles for Christmas. (Free bikes 4 Kidz Detroit)

Cleaning and repairing volunteers of all skill levels are required between October 2nd and December 9th. Bob Barnes, executive director of Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit, said probably 20-30% of the volunteers are qualified enough to do serious repairs on bikes.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit is the eighth of 12 subsidiaries in the United States and the second largest behind the founding group in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The subsidiary Metro Detroit started in 2018. By 2019, around 2,600 bicycles had been collected and distributed nationwide to groups such as church or school groups that apply on behalf of children.

Legendary professional cyclist and two-time Olympic champion Frankie Andreu helps a child find the right size for a bike. (Free bikes 4 Kidz Detroit)

To date, the organization has given away nearly 5,000 bikes while all national affiliates have given away nearly 100,000 bikes.

Barnes said the organization works with the Piston Group, which was founded by former Detroit Pistons player Vinnie Johnson.

“Our collaboration with FB4K Detroit on behalf of our children is an important priority for us.

Business and our community, ”Johnson said in a statement. “We need hundreds of volunteers over the next three months to prepare the bikes. It’s a perfect opportunity for an organization or company looking for a positive, charitable, and team-building activity. “

Barnes used to be a supplier to the auto industry. A Chief Operating Officer, now part of the Piston Group, used to work with him and other team members, which became this latest partnership.

“We spoke to them at the right time,” said Barnes.

There are three different types of volunteers: cleaners who clean bikes of general grease and dirt; Preppers who can change bike tires, saddles, grips, and pedals; and then those who can play with advanced parts to make bikes ride like new.

Around 1,500 volunteers were on duty in 2019. The event took place in 2020, but the number of volunteers dropped to around 600.

A child gets a new bike and a helmet. (Free bikes 4 Kidz Detroit)

While the goal is to collect 5,000 bikes, Barnes said pandemic bike sales could impact those numbers. It is unclear whether more people have taken older bikes that may have been in basements or garages and tried to fix them for themselves or others.

“It’s really good to see the kids get the bikes at the end of the season,” said Barnes. “We live in a time when kids have so much screen time and don’t go outside to play freely as I may have in my generation. It is not only a chance for a healthy start to childhood, but also this freedom. It opens your world. “

More information is available at fb4kdetroit.org.

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