Pedaling On

Bikes For Kids to Host Third Annual Bike Giveaway

Writer / Julie Yates
Photography Provided

Bikes and kids just go together. Almost everyone has childhood memories involving the thrill of owning a bike and the ongoing joy it provided. For some however, this rite of passage is out of reach due to economic circumstances. Bikes For Kids, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Plymouth that provides those in need with the chance to experience the fun and outdoor exercise a bicycle gives to a child.

Saturday, April 16 will mark the third year Bikes For Kids will distribute bikes to children from Marshall and surrounding counties whose families receive county and state assistance, such as EBT, SNAP, TANF, WIC and Hoosier Works cards. The event, held in Centennial Park at the Hoosier Old Wheels pavilion and the Freyman Shelter, begins at noon with a rain date of April 23. Care is taken to match each recipient with a bicycle that is right for them. Bagged lunches consisting of hot dogs, chips, cookies and bottles of water will be served.

The organization was started by Mark and Cathy Sage, president and vice president of the nonprofit. In 2019 their grandson Damian received a new bike for his birthday. The question came up about what to do with his old bike. Damian suggested that perhaps a needy child would like it, and the idea of Bikes For Kids was born. Today, the second-grader at Webster Elementary School in Plymouth serves as a spokesperson, test rider and honorary board member of the organization.

Bikes For Kids

There are eight dedicated members on the board of directors. All have a keen interest in either biking or childhood fitness. Besides the Sages, the board includes: Chip Dean, owner of Integrity Academy of Martial Arts and Dean’s Auto Detail Shop; Joe Barnes, prior owner of RideonBikes and Rentals; Dan Brashere-Atkinson, avid bicycle rider and race competitor; Norma Brashere-Atkinson, certified cycling instructor; David Abair, active member of Hoosier Old Wheels; and Mirna Dault, who has served on boards and written grants for other nonprofits.

“We can always use more helpers,” Mark Sage says. “This year is different because we haven’t been able to purchase as many new bikes as in the past, so we are filling in with refurbished bikes. We need people to pick up bikes and transport them to the barn where they are stored. The barn has a heated basement and bike storage overhead. Volunteers are needed to clean, assemble and repair bikes. On the day of the event, we need bike runners and food-prep help.”

Although the organization came up short on funding this year, Sage feels that enough used bikes can be rebuilt in time. Several places to drop off bikes are listed on the organization’s website. Those wishing to donate a bike and who need someone to pick it up can call 574-221-5688.

“We are looking for bikes that don’t need a lot of work,” Sage says. “Kids deserve a bike that’s like new. We are hoping to have 330 bikes to give away this year and we like to match a helmet with each child. We didn’t have the capital to buy both new bikes and helmets, so we will buy helmets with the money we have.”

The organization’s website has a Store page where donations are accepted. For just $10, a new helmet can be “purchased” to ensure the safety of a happy bike rider. Those providing funds can see photos of bikes priced at $100 for a larger size, down to $25, in an effort to cover kids from age 3 up to high schoolers who do not drive yet.

Bikes For Kids

“Everyone in the community has been supportive and there has been nothing but positives in this effort to get kids off of the couch and off of video games,” Sage says. “Two or three radio stations have gotten the word out. The bike giveaway is really an effort. There’s a lot more than meets the eye. In the future we hope to grow and expand by setting up satellite locations in other communities such as Knox or Rochester. We’d love to reach the level of giving away 1,000 bikes in Marshall County.”

The Bikes For Kids Third Annual Bike Giveaway will be held at noon on Saturday, April 16 in Centennial Park, at 1660 North Michigan Street in Plymouth.

For more information and to donate, visit Call 574-221-5688 for pickup of used bikes in good condition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });