Donating to many local charities was not enough for Comox Valley Dodge owner Mike Marchi.
Besides donating cash to You Are Not Alone (YANA), Tour de Rock and St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Comox Valley Dodge has donated vehicles to ambulance paramedics and fire departments, hosted an annual open golf tournament and sponsored sports teams.
Then Marchi got the idea for Mike’s Bikes.
“I’m a dad and I’m an avid cyclist and an avid fitness person,” Marchi said in an interview. “To me, it’s very important that children in particular have the opportunity to have some fun and enjoy their lives when it comes to health and fitness.
“I think a bike is a way to give them that, but unfortunately a lot of people in the Valley don’t have a lot of money.”
“To me, a bike is an expression, a metaphor for freedom and independence,” Marchi said. I think every child deserves to have a bike.”
Accordingly, he and Comox Valley Dodge will give away 100 bicycles to children this holiday season.
The program has criteria, but there is not a catch, Marchi explained.
“It’s not about selling cars. Comox Valley dodge is of course my store, my company and that’s who’s doing it, but people won’t have to come here; it has nothing to do with that.”
Mike’s Bikes are for children aged five to 12. The bikes are being bought locally.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 17. To do so, children, their parents, guardians or teachers would visit http://mikes-bikes.ca, click on the Request Your Bike! link and fill out an application form.
In 250 words or fewer, explain why the child should receive a Mike’s Bike. Marchi will assess applications himself.
The form asks for the child’s height and gender in an effort to match kids with bikes that are the right size and colour.
Bicycle helmets are not included in the offer because it would be difficult to match children with ones that fit properly. Comox Valley Dodge has a community sponsor that would provide your child a helmet for a reduced price.
Depending on the outcome this year, Marchi said he plans to do a bike giveaway every year.