You never forget the joy of getting your first bike. Many children in Minneapolis understood that feeling thanks to a bicycle donation event that saw 7,000-plus used bikes gifted. The nonprofit Free Bikes 4 Kidz recently teamed up with Allina Health and U-Haul for its seventh annual holiday distribution to help kids in need.
On Oct. 7, more than 50 Allina Health locations served as donation centers for the drive. The four-hour bicycle donation window included more than 800 volunteers to support the contributors.
“Team Minnesota loves working with Allina and Free Bikes 4 Kidz,” proclaimed Jodie Lacher, traffic control manager of U-Haul Company of Southern Minnesota. “Their goal is to keep kids active and healthy. That aligns with U-Haul Company’s goals of keeping our Team Members and their families healthy and active.”
After starting modestly in 2011, the event has flourished. This year’s total set a Guinness World Record for the most bikes collected in one day. Though the partners make the efforts look easy, everyone involved understands all that goes into the program.
“Throughout the year, we advertise constantly through the various channels in our area,” said Tim Burke, public relations manager for Allina Health. “We want as many people to be involved as possible, and the last seven years have created an awareness that makes people want to participate.”
With the bike drive expanding, the need to transport the donations has also increased. That is where U-Haul enters. U-Haul has teamed with Allina since the second year of the drive, helping to transfer all of the used bikes to a warehouse to be repaired. This year, a record 54 U-Haul trucks were used to make the transfer.
The process was finally completed Dec. 2 as the bikes were donated to the kids prior to Christmas.
“We feel that everyone deserves a bike,” said John Pappenfus, logistics director for Allina. “We preach bicycle safety as well, and make sure that every bike is accompanied by a helmet. The best part is getting to see the looks on all of the kids’ faces after they receive their bikes.”
Did you know U-Haul offers bike racks for your bicycles. From the serious cycling enthusiast to the weekend cruiser, and for just about every vehicle on the road, U-Haul has a solution to transport your bike from point A to point B. Read more about our bike racks here.