Changing Lives one Bike at a Time

Bikes 4 Families Gives Bikes to People in Need

Changing Lives One Bike at a Time Bikes 4 Families Gives Bikes to People in Need Working in the bike industry, we're keenly aware of the transformational impact that cycling has on individuals, families and their communities. Unfortunately, not everyone who needs a bike can afford one. That's why we developed the Bikes 4 Families program.

Each holiday season, the employees of QBP raise enough funds to purchase bikes for a select group of deserving families. In 2011, we worked with Erik's Bike Shop and Full Cycle in the Twin Cities, and Saturday Cycles in Ogden, UT, to help four families get on the road to good health and better living through biking.

"Our annual Bikes 4 Families fundraising initiative lets us purchase bikes for people in our community that otherwise would not be able to afford them," said Seth Nesselhuf, director of QBP's Advocacy, Community service, and Environment (ACE) program. "We hope these families will improve the quality of their lives by making cycling a regular way to recreate and get around."

Alex* and her son David, 15, were already well-established bike commuters before Bikes 4 Families gave them brand new rides. It was just in time, too. Their old bikes were in such bad shape they sometimes spent more time getting them repaired than riding them.

"Alex and David always put a smile on our faces, even when their bikes were sad and in disrepair," said Crystal Brinkman, lead mechanic and intern coordinator at Full Cycle, a non-profit community bike shop in Minneapolis. She added that despite their bike troubles, Alex and David are neighborhood leaders, actively organizing El Jardin Paraiso, a community garden, during the growing season. They are also vocal advocates for Full Cycle, sending many friends and neighbors to the shop.

Brinkman said she was very pleased Bikes 4 Families chose these deserving people. "We hope that their new, highly functional bikes will not keep them from stopping in and saying 'hi' every so often," she said.

Although the scope of the Bikes 4 Families program remains small, its benefits are often life changing, observes Nesselhuf.

"Bikes offer so much more than a way to exercise," he said. "Kids build confidence by getting their first taste of mobility and independence. And adults get a form of transportation that can get them to work or across town for groceries, or at the very least, out for a fun spin around the block with the kids. The long-term impact of any one of those things is immeasurably good."

*Last name withheld to protect the privacy of these individuals.