Free bikes for Kelowna kids in need

More than 100 local children in need of a new set of wheels will be riding around Kelowna a bit happier after Saturday.

  • Mar. 18, 2016 5:00 p.m.

More than 100 local children in need of a new set of wheels will be riding around Kelowna a bit happier after this weekend.

Starting at 8 a.m., March 19, at St. Charles Garnier church, 3645 Benvoulin Rd., Kelowna’s Bicycles for Humanity will be giving away their collection of donated of kids’ bikes.

Every year  the Kelowna chapter of Bicycles for Humanity gives the community back the children’s bikes they collected for their annual bicycle shipment to the African country of Ghana. Children’s bikes wouldn’t be of as much use to the residents there, so it’s an opportunity to ensure that locals in need have access to a bike. This year, in addition to tots’ bikes, tricycles and scooters, the collection is particularly rich in bigger bikes for pre-teens. Two mechanics will be on site to fix up the bikes—one  to adjust bikes to fit the new riders and make sure tire pressure is right.

Adult bikes suitable for Ghana’s rough terrain can be dropped off at the back of the church on Saturday morning.

Keith Germaine  has been part of Bicycles for Humanity for 11 years, and says the affect on the lives of those who receive the donation in Ghana is significant.“When I was there, I know a bike was a huge luxury,” he said, noting he lived in Ghana for two years. “The only bike I could buy was a cheap Chinese bike, and the crank broke on the way home.”

For those who have to travel between villages for work, or for medical professionals, the need for a reliable bike is paramount.

To ensure the bikes are long lasting, Germaine said recipients are given a one-day workshop on how to care for the bikes.’“They also have to donate something to ensure they have a vested interest.”

This year’s first 40-foot container, holding up to 500 adult bikes, will be sent to Ghana after the kids’ bikes are given away and after the yard sale—which is held  April 16 at the church—bringing the total number of bikes sent from this community to Ghana to around 7,500. Anyone wishing to donate an adult bike, or even an older car for resale, or made a financial contribution, can do so Saturday morning at the church, or contact Germaine at 250-764-2942.

Those who plan to get a new bike on Saturday don’t need to pay, though donations would be appreciated.

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