Progress: 2020 Week 7

Another solid week of progress is behind us. We received 51 new bicycles, bringing our total to 811, more than 50% higher than last year’s. Twenty-five unique volunteers spent 150 hours refurbishing 50 bikes. We are essentially finished with the 26″ bikes, and about halfway through the 700c and other adult sizes, while scrambling to catch up with the new additions.

Race Pace mechanics came in and safety-checked over 350 of our completed bicycles this week. Each and every bike will be gone over by experienced mechanics to make sure they are the best they can be for our recipients. They found very few issues–some tires had gone flat, a few bikes with brake cables that were stickier than they should be, that sort of thing. All easily rectified.

We have also started to process bikes that can not be repaired, either because of severe damage or because it is impossible, or economically not cost-effective, to refurbish them. We thank these bikes for their service to their previous owners, strip them of all useful parts, separate metal from rubber and plastic, and recycle everything we can’t use. This helps keep our costs down, particularly this year when new parts are expensive if they can be found at all!

Some of the parts taken from unrepairable bikes. These will be used to fix other bikes.

Giveaway Day planning continues for events that start in two weeks(!). Howard Community College has graciously lent us their parking garage for our biggest Giveaway Day on December 12; Several other smaller giveaways at local schools and community centers will be conducted outside.

In addition to mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, we expect to use large areas of space to spread out helmet and bike selection. Families will be scheduled to come in small groups throughout the Giveaway event. They will be encouraged to download and fill out paperwork remotely; if unable, they will sign paperwork with disposable pens. Appropriate-sized helmets will be issued after families measure their children using disposable paper measuring tapes (that they’ll keep). Recipients will be directed to bike selection areas based on their height, and we’ll let recipients select their bikes from a small number of the correct size to minimize handling. And we’ll of course have gallons of hand sanitizer on hand.

Volunteers are still being scheduled for our Howard Community College Giveaway Day on December 12 as well as smaller Giveaway Days on December 7, December 9, December 18, and December 19 (so far). You can use our volunteer page, and just answer “no” to the first question about changing a bike tire, to sign up for those opportunities. We’re in need of bike wranglers to load and unload trucks, bike helmet distributors, bike selection assistants, check-in staff, and a variety of other roles.

Progress continues to exceed 2019–by a lot!

We have much to be thankful for, despite the pandemic. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for their support in these trying times. We’ve received the funding, space, venues, assistance, and significant support that has made it possible to help keep children healthy and active despite the pandemic.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!