On Saturday, June 5th, Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison completed its season of giving bikes away and set a new giveaway record of 2,021 bikes distributed throughout Dane County and beyond! In previous years, the most we’d given away was 1,500. Despite the challenges that Covid-19 threw at us, our volunteers, staff and community distribution partners rallied and pushed through to help us realize this new goal.
Thanks to an anonymous donor who matched FB4K Madison’s financial donations from January through April, we were able to give away locks in addition to helmets, headlights and taillights. Many of our constituents live in apartments that do not have secure bicycle storage or they’re using them as their main form of transportation to and from work so having a lock is a critical need. We are still seeking a helmet sponsor for $3,000 however! If you would like to donate toward that cause, click here.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison continuously seeks ways to make cycling more inclusive and this year we partnered with GiGi’s Playhouse of Madison to help kids with Down Syndrome learn to ride bikes too. It was a great learning experience for FB4K and for GiGi’s! We made adaptive changes to many of the bikes like taking the drive train (pedals and crank) off the bikes so they could be used as larger strider bikes. Some kids received adult sized trikes that were donated to us. And some kids learned to ride the bikes as is! All in all, it was a wonderful experience and a successful day for all who were there.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison gives bikes away to area nonprofits who are already serving youth, community centers, schools, and churches in diverse communities. We are incredibly grateful to them for their help getting bikes to those most in need! Every organization’s capacity to help was reduced this year despite the need being higher than most years but many were still able to partner with us to get bikes to families in need.
If you’re wondering how to get a bike for next year, be sure to connect with your school social worker, community center staff, or a nonprofit that you receive services from. They vette our recipients and manage the distribution of bikes because it’s not feasible for us to give bikes to individuals—that would be like juggling 2,000 balls at once!
Since our first giveaway in 2017, we have now given away 5,600 bikes to 94 organizations primarily in Dane County. In 2021, we also provided bikes to organizations in Whitewater, Milwaukee and Janesville as well because they have serious needs as well.
The bikes are all gone so now what?
Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison collects bike donations from September during Madison Bike Week through March. Our giveaway season happens in April and May. We run a very lean operation so our financial donations are mostly used to help us fulfill our mission. We will move out of our donated big box store in early June and place all of our tools, workbenches, and supplies in a storage locker until December when we find a new donated big box store.
Watch for our bike donation stations opening around the city on Saturday, September 18th, the last day of Madison Bike Week!
The summer months will be spent attending events, marketing, fundraising, grant writing, strategic planning, and preparing for the 2022 giveaway season. We only have one part-time staff person year round to keep our expenses low. In December, we will hire two paid bike mechanics to refurbish bikes. That is also when we will start taking volunteers on a regular basis.
If you would like to be a distribution partner in 2022, be sure to sign up for our e-news so you’ll be notified in January/February for the call for distribution partners. If you’d like to volunteer to help us give bikes away in 2022, please also sign up! You can sign up for the e-news at the bottom of our homepage.