Monday, October 5, 2009

Community Bike Day big hit with kids, volunteers



From the Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Aubrey Langford, 11, was busy tearing strips of yellow, green and purple duct tape and putting them on her bicycle handlebars and seat while Leela Pahl was wrapping the spokes with tin foil.

The two had teamed up Sunday on the first Community Bike Day, which drew some 80 participants and 17 volunteers to the Seminole Boys and Girls Club on Clinton Avenue.

"It's fun," said Aubrey, a sixth grader at Westlawn. She also decorated her helmet to match her bike.
It was difficult to tell who was having more fun - the kids or volunteers such as Pahl, who pedals to work each day at Alabama A&M University.

"This is a great neighborhood for riding bikes and the kids are really excited," said Pahl, who also rides each Sunday with other area cyclists for pleasure and exercise. "What better thing to do than to help kids with their bikes? It's a perfect fit for the bikers."

Boys and Girls Club Director Starrett Archie was ecstatic over the turnout, especially with threatening skies. But the rain held off long enough for the kids to get old broken bikes repaired and newer ones souped up.

"The No. 1 reason we wanted to do this was because childhood obesity is so rampant and we need to get kids more active," he said.

Archie, 34, rides his bike to work to set a good example for the children. He said the children have been "enthusiastic" and many invited friends who do not usually attend the Boys and Girls Club events.
But even more important than bringing friends, said Archie, is bringing their parents and getting them more involved in their activities.

Olivia Jefferson, was beaming while watching her 9-year-old son, Jaren Jefferson, with the bicycle he had been given.
"He had a bike, but the tube was busted," said Jefferson. "It's a real good thing, them coming out to help the children. I'm very thankful they would take up their time to do this."

For one volunteer, it was not just about helping the kids with their bikes, but teaching them how to live a greener lifestyle.
"A lot of us ride through here and see the kids on bikes and we want to support them," said Jim Garvin, a native New Yorker who moved to Huntsville three years ago. "Kids should be able to ride their bikes to school. It's a quality of life issue."
Bikes of all shapes and sizes, including a bicycle-built-for-two, a double-decker and one which uses solar power, were scattered in the parking lot, along with bent wheels, old inner tubes, loose chains and all types of tools to make repairs.
DeMarco Thompson, a seventh grader at Chapman Middle School, proudly showed off the like-new Nitro 26 green bike he had just received.

He said he was "grateful" for his new bike, but would be thankful for what everyone is doing to help out his community even if he hadn't gotten the new wheels.

Archie and the volunteers hope to make Community Bike Day a regular event and to expand it to other Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the city.

6 comments:

the milkman said...

It was really fun. An overall success! Thanks everyone!

We could practically do this every 2 months in Spring, Summer, and Fall. Or at least once a season. What do ya think?

Next time T-Shirts and BBQ in full effect.

It was Rawsome!

Tyler said...

I noticed the pictures in the paper was different then the pictures on al.com. The caption was a little misleading it may have made readers think DeMarco got my tallbike, which is kind of funny. I also like that it was called a "double decker". It was a very good article however and I really enjoyed working with everyone to make this happen. When I gave back one man a bike that belong to his son/grandson in working condition he had a big smile on his face like he couldn't believe it. I think it was great for everyone in that community to see a group of people from other neighborhoods come to volunteer time to fix bikes. And yes it was great to see the excitement of the kids and the creative ways they decorated their bikes.

Tyler said...

Oh and wanted to say to Nolan and Troy Great work on the pictures you guys got really good Shots.

Bello Velo said...

The Triana Club was recently burned out two weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

I sent some money to fundable as that was a work day for me. It didn't get funded as there wasn't enough other cash contributions. Can that money please be used to continue this sort of thing in the future. It's a great idea!

Bello Velo said...

Yes we are going to use that money directly, so if you could contact me via email.bello.velo@gmail.com


Thanks