As a person who grew up loving my bike(s), I have a desire to share with the younger generation all of the wonder and fun that riding has to offer. To that end, I try to donate one bike every year to a kid around the holidays. It’s easy, it’s not too expensive, and it is an great way to expose any community not just to bike building but also local charitable organizations.
Step 1: Get a Bike
This year, I bought a simple BMX bike on Amazon. Lots of reasonably priced kids bikes are available online. If you want to support your local bike shop, they are sure to have many inexpensive models that will make any child happy.
My Son and I spent the morning building the bike and preparing it for donation. It was a fun and interesting day; we were able to share some time on bike mechanics and he got a great sense of accomplishment from completing the build.
Step 2: Make it Safe
Being a safe rider is at least as important as wanting to ride. It is easy to include a simple way for your “giftee” to get the accessories they will need to ride safely.
A $30 gift card at a local big box (i.e. Target or Wal-Mart) makes it easy for a new bike owner to get to a local store that sells affordable safety equipment. They can choose their preferred helmet (and maybe lock). Placing the gift card inside an envelope with the bike booklet, along with a note, helps the recipient with this important task.
Step 3: Donation
Lastly, we performed research on local organizations who would accept the bike and pass it on to the right needy child. Look for an organization that will not try to make a quick buck by reselling it. I called several local charities and asked online for recommendations before finding a place I felt comfortable working with.
It can be difficult to find a trustworthy place to donate. There are a lot of online resources for researching organizations in order to find the ones that do not keep more than they should, and who maximize as much of each donated dollar as possible in favor if directly helping children. I have found that Charity Navigator is a reliable source of information and a great way to discover local charities that have a high degree of trustworthiness. On the website, there is a search function with a filtering system which allows users to search easily and using criteria such as location, category, and scope.