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Calvin's Corner

Free Bikes 4 Kids, a Minnesota program

"Free Bikes 4 Kids" is a non-profit organization based in the Twin Cites area of Minnesota.

The concept of Free Bikes For Kids is to provide a bike (and a helmet) to a kid who would otherwise not get a bike. Bikes are donated at drop off locations, and what a collection of bikes they are! What  are often called "department store" or "big box" bikes, serious BMX bikes, hybrids of well recognized brand names, the occasional Campagnolo Record group with requisite Reynolds 531 frame; all have been seen.

FB4K's runs off the work, sweat, and love from the volunteers.  Bikes are hauled to the work location. They are sorted into groups, and then the work begins. Tires are aired up, as many, if not most, have been sitting around for a long time.  Airing the tires first lets the volunteers that fix them know if there are slow leaks….or complete blow outs to be repaired.


What I enjoy about these types of programs is quite simple.  There is much to learn and plenty of opportunity to practice. There are huge piles of bikes, and they all need fixing.

Piles of fun at FB4K
Rows and rows of fixed bikes ready to make someone happy

 

 

I tried to work on the 12", 16' and 20" bikes. I was especially drawn to theme bikes, like the "John Deere", "Green Bay Packers", and "Spiderman" bikes for kids.


This Spiderman bike included its own arachnid

The following video shows an example of how a repair might go:


Volunteer mechanics Tim Parker and John Sutcliffe wonder why it is necessary that I wear a GoPro camera to fix this bike

 

Not every bike donated will make it to a child. Sometimes there are big problems, or perhaps they be just too odd.  This video shows a Fuji folding bike that should not leave the building, and a MTB bike with a broken crank: