Carter Todd loves riding in his neighborhood, especially with his new bike.
Todd, 12, said his bike was in bad condition and he had a problem with the brakes.
He no longer has to worry about that with his new bike from Free Bikes 4 Kidzs. Nor does his father, Brandon Todd.
“A lot more happier, a lot more happier. All my kids have bikes, I mean all they do is race up and down the street all day long,” Brandon Todd said.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization that takes used bikes, fixes them up and gives them to children whose families cannot afford them on their own.
Ashia Phillips volunteers to clean the bikes and make sure they look as new as possible.
“I think that more kids need to the ride in the city, we need more exercise, they need to get out and exercise a little bit more so you need more bikes in our neighborhoods and I know a lot of people can’t afford bikes,” Phillips said.
Dave Birchler is a mechanic who tunes up the bikes before they’re given away.
“We go over the entire bike to make sure that it is number one, safe and then, number two, that everything on the bike works properly and will provide at least a full year of service to whatever child gets the bike,” Birchler said.
Birchler is retired and said it is not unusual for him to spend five days a week fixing up the bikes. He said he finds the work fulfilling.
“Sure, some of our bikes can look a little beat up when they come in, but by the time they go out of here we’ve got to look at as close to shiny news we can possibly get them,” Birchler said.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz donates to neighborhood organizations including churches, schools and clubs. Those groups apply for bikes for the children and families they think could use them.
“A lot of time mom and dad can’t, they don’t have the funds to buy bikes, they have to buy food, clothes, school supplies for the kids, they can’t buy extra things like this,” said James Edwards of the Pistons Group who supports Free Bikes 4 Kidz.
The Pistons Group donates the warehouse space where the bikes are kept and fixed up before they’re given to children.
Brandon Todd, who is the father of five children, agrees it can be difficult. He is grateful that his children can now ride safely in their neighborhood.
As for Carter, he said he enjoys riding his bike because it’s faster than walking and he enjoys going fast and racing bikes with his brother.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz needs the community’s help to give more bikes to children. People can donate their bikes to several Home Depot locations on Saturday (Oct. 2) from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
There are a total of 22 Home Depot locations participating from Lansing to Ann Arbor. Some of the locations include Home Depots in Dearborn Heights, Taylor, Plymouth, Woodhaven, Southfield, Auburn Hills, Chesterfield Township, Madison Heights and Shelby Township.
For the complete list and addresses, click here.