Our parking lot is always a busy place, but on April 1, instead of cars wheeling in and out, laughing children wearing brand new bright green helmets were wheeling bicycles around orange safety cones.
Wednesday’s event was the first in our new #kids Closet children’s program, Books, #bikes and Backpacks. The bicycle safety clinic and used bike repair and giveaway was the result of a partnership with two wonderful local agencies, the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and the Bay Area Bike Mobile.
Laughter bubbled up from the nine children as they tried on the cool green helmets and mounted their newly refurbished bikes. Parents looked on with broad smiles as the children demonstrated safe riding skills under the instruction of Ernesto Lizaola, education programs manager for the bike coalition.
Mother of triplets, Ana Carolina Mendoza was so excited that the girls had bicycles that fit – she promised to #donate their too-small bikes to Samaritan House to be donated to the next group of children.
Earlier in the day, the #bikemobile team arrived and got to work changing tires, replacing brakes, getting 16 bicycles back in shape in record time. And the bike coalition brought two boxes of new helmets, making sure each child received a safe, well-fitting helmet and a larger-sized donated bike.
Starting out with a half-hour classroom presentation for parents and children in our third floor conference room, the group then trooped down to the parking lot for the hands-on part of the program.
“This is the first time they have ever been taught anything about bicycles,” Ana Carolina said. She said she was really pleased they were learning the basics of bike safety.
Samaritan House plans to hold similar events in the future and welcomes the donation of youth and adult bicycles in good condition or a donation of $10, which will provide a safe helmet for a child.
About the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition: “Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (#svbc) exists to promote increased cycling in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. To accomplish this goal, SVBC advocates for improved and expanded bicycle infrastructure and other facilities, including bike lanes, paths, racks, lockers, accommodating traffic signals, capacity on transit, and more. Additionally, SVBC promotes bicycle culture through events and activities such as Bike to Work Day, Bicycle Friendly Workplace, and Valet Bike Parking at a variety of area events.
About the BikeMobile: “The Bay Area BikeMobile hosts bicycle repair clinics at schools, libraries, recreation centers, and community events across the San Francisco Bay Area. At these events, we engage participants in a hands-on repair process so that they may be more confident making future repairs on their own. Additionally, we promote safe riding, teach beginners how to ride without training wheels, and give away refurbished bicycles. By partnering with Spare the Air Youth and Safe Routes to Schools they are able to offer this as a free resource to the public, focusing on low-income communities that often do not have access to professional bike repair. The Bay Area BikeMobile helps keep youth rolling to school safely while reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”