On Saturday May 20th Bikes for Humanity PDX granted 22 bikes to 4th and 5th graders in the Cully community who had finished Bike Safety Education with the Street Trust. This was our third grant this year, as part of our Bike Buddies Giveaway, and the 7th since we started 2 years ago. This program sets up students in Title I Portland Public Schools who are now ready to ride to school with a helmet, u-lock, and bell in addition to their bike, so they can build on the skills and enthusiasm gained through the Safe Routes to School bike safety program.
This program has partnered in the past with the Street Trust (formerly the BTA) who do Bike Safety Education in Portland classrooms, Portland Public Schools who have granted auditorium and cafeteria space for the events, and the Community Cycling Center who have donated 24″ bikes to us. Our grant event this time around was unique in this program as it connected with not only bike safety educators and the Community Cycling Center, but also with Andando en Bicicleta en Cully who went door to door in the neighborhood to find kids who fit the description of a grantee: had completed bike safety, wanted a bike, but could not afford one. Another key factor ABC has encountered in their history of advocacy is storage. Grantees would need a place to put their bike at night so it would not be stolen or suffer the effects of weather.
We worked with members of ABC to create a unique event at Living Cully Plaza that would be the product of the hard work of 4 different organizations: the Beca de Bici, a bike scholarship for graduates of the Safe Routes to School bike safety program
Bikes for Humanity volunteers solicited donated bikes, refurbished them with new and used parts, and provided locks, bells, and some helmets. ABC members found the students, provided volunteers to run the stations of the event, and set up the space at Living Cully Plaza. The Street Trust provided the education component to teach students to ride safely in the streets using geared bikes with hand brakes. The Community Cycling Center provided helmets, bike transportation, and tools, and their program coordinator Patty Otero, once a bike safety instructor at the BTA herself and a volunteer at our giveaway almost 2 years ago, made all of these pieces seamlessly fit together.
ABC members ran the stations for registration and helmet-fitting, and worked with Bikes for Humanity volunteers to do bike fitting, u-lock demonstrations, and bell installation. By the end, one student took over the u-lock demonstration piece. Twenty two bikes were granted, setting up 22 young Cully kids for a summer of fun, exercise, and empowerment, with a lifetime of bike rides and commutes to follow.
To finish this program, we have 17 more bikes to grant. We look forward to your support–either in donating, volunteering, or sharing our story–and we look forward to seeing everyone at the grand reopening of our shop in mid-June!