MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It started with a wish to get unused kids’ bikes out of garages and into the hands of children who would ride them.
Six years later, Free Bikes 4 Kidz has given away about 20,000 bikes.READ MORE: Urshela, Twins Overcome 6-Run Deficit, Rally Past Royals 7-6
The nonprofit collects donated bikes and then coordinates volunteers to fix them up like new for the holidays.
Just the sight of them is enough to make your head spin.
Terry Esau started Free Bikes 4 Kidz in 2008.
“What we’ve found is that people love to donate bikes. As you can see, we have over 6,000 bikes in here. People just keep donating them,” Esau said as he gave WCCO a tour of a warehouse in Minneapolis, where they’re being stored.
But there’s something standing in the way of this year’s giveaway.
“We need mechanics. We desperately need mechanics. We’d like to get at least 2,000 more bikes done to give away. So, we need people with skills,” he said.
Tires need to be changed, brakes checked, gears adjusted and chains lubricated.
Richard Borst has spent more than a hundred hours here.
“I know that there are some of these people who are getting these bikes, that it’s the only thing they are getting for Christmas. And that’s, that’s neat,” Borst said.
Increasingly the volunteers are coming from the same workplace.READ MORE: Minnesota Legislature Races To Complete Its Work, But Time Running Out
Companies like Wells Fargo, Target and even many of the craft breweries in the Twin Cities are sending their employees to promote team building.
The owners of Seiler Schindel law firm in St. Louis Park are even inviting their clients to work alongside their legal staff.
“The people we work with like doing the things we do, and giving back to the extent we can. So, everybody is excited about coming tonight,” Jon Schindel said.
His business partner Scott Seiler is also enthusiastic about it.
“We wanted to bring them together. We wanted to say let’s get people together to network, maybe even do business, but give them a purpose behind it,” Seiler said.
They have just two weeks left until the giveaway dates of Dec. 6 and 7, that’s the first weekend in December.
Hence the urgent call for volunteers with some bike repair skills.
If you’d like to help, visit Bike 4 Kidz online.
No more bike donations can be accepted until next October.
They’re looking at expanding their program to cities in other states.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz feel they’ve created a national model that can be set up in other parts of the country.MORE NEWS: Wisconsin Republicans Reject Recalling Biden Votes, Removing Vos
They plan to do that beginning next year in two additional metro areas.