Some deserving students at Arden Elementary, who might not otherwise have bikes, will now be able to ride because of community generosity.
A number of organizations came together through the Operation Share the Ride program to work with the school to identify kids who would be ideal recipients for the bike donation program. The program is an initiative from Pinkbike, a large online community for mountain-bikers.
“It’s essentially the hub of everything mountain-biking,” says Rebecca Stewart, who organized and hosted the event.
She credited the Pinkbike Foundation as well as the efforts of many businesses that stepped up to help Share the Ride.
“Without them, there’s just no way I could have done this,” she said.
C.J. Hendren, who operates Gravity MTB, with her husband Chad, was on hand as one of the main sponsors. The couple was there to present the students a free mountain-biking lesson later this year.
“We think everyone should get a chance to ride, and not everybody does,” C.J. said.
Chad Hendren said they will be conducting a 90-minute coaching session with the kids in the near future where the kids can learn how to ride properly, going over basics such as shifting and braking.
For the main event at the school gym Sunday, the 14 kids were then brought over to their new Specialized bikes, which came about as a result of the Comox Bike Company, which used its connections to line up the bikes.
“We contacted our Specialized dealer about making this happen,” said co-owner Craig Harris.
He was there with fellow co-owners Craig Patrick and Chip Murray, and their employees to help the kids customize their bikes. For Comox Bike Community, the event provided a chance to give back to the community and help some kids.
“It creates community. That’s the biggest thing for us,” Harris said.
The students also received a swag bag full of stickers from sponsors, water bottles and other surprises, along with new helmets from Giro. Riders Pizza in Cumberland also brought in food for the kids during the event on Sunday.
Stewart has been involved in mountain-biking for a long time and is in the process of starting her own non-profit organization to help kids get access to equipment and coaching for the sport.
“I’m also a professional mountain-bike coach,” she said. “I’ve worked in the mountain-biking industry for a few years.”
As far as picking the children, Stewart reached out to Comox Valley Schools to find out some worthy schools. Arden then set up a selection process to determine the most deserving kids.
“With my budget, we looked at how many kids we could do,” she said.