By Bruce Cohen - January 8, 2015
As the holiday season fades into memory, one thing is certain: there are a lot of used kid’s bikes that just got replaced by Santa. In 2012, roughly 2.25 million new children’s bicycles were sold in the United States, leaving that many used kid’s bikes available to be recycled for a kid whose parents can’t afford one. Here lies an opportunity to change a life, because every kid deserves a safe bike to ride.
Recycling a used kid’s bike is a breeze; if the bike has been kept in moderate condition, you can usually have it looking and riding like new with just a few new parts and a few minutes of your time. Most of the bikes that I have recycled needed new grips ($8-$12), a new seat ($10-$20), a few minutes with a wire brush and a can of primer spray paint. A new set of tires and inner tubes is sometimes needed and a few minutes tuning up the brakes and drivetrain. Make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight, and the bike is perfectly safe. See if your local bike shop (buy from your LBS!) would be willing to coach you on the work if you aren’t confident about doing it yourself. You’ll see that with just a few dollars and some of your time, you can make that unused kid’s bike look and ride like new.
The bike you fix, given to a less-privileged child in your own neighborhood, can change a life – just like a bicycle changed yours. If you’d rather give to a local non-profit community organization, there are many that will accept your donation, and you may even qualify for a tax deduction. Try one of these great organizations if you can’t find a kid in your neighborhood:
Family and Children’s Services of Maryland www.fcsmd.org Call Chris Merriken at (410) 366-1980 ext. 245
Catholic Charities of Maryland www.catholiccharities-md.org Call Maria Busko at (410) 252-4000 ext. 1606
Digital Harbor High School Bike Program in Baltimore Contact Andy Dahl at email@example.com
GapBuster, Inc in Prince George’s County Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Call (301) 779-4252
Now get out and ride with a kid!