Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our New $20 Bicycle

Yesterday we arrived early at a nearby hippster cafe here in the District of Columbia to select a new (used) bicycle for our daughter, who's almost nine and just keeps growing. Turns out there was not so much competition for the kids bikes, but the place was swarming with young adults oggling and testing the grownup models.

It seemed like such a good idea--and so instantly popular and practical--that I wanted to pass on what this was about. It was three local groups who get disadvantaged children off the streets by teaching them bicycle repair. All three groups banded together for this fundraiser, putting the bicycles up for sale to the public. In fact, it wasn't so much a sale as a "suggested donation." The "suggested" amount for the cute purple bicycle our daughter settled on (or rather pounced on) was $15, but we added another $5 to the kitty as a token of our appreciation.

It all happened very much under the radar, with word spreading via e-mail and neighborhood listservs. Never has the internet been put to better use. I was so impressed, I thought we should give a big mention to the groups involved. Phoenix Bikes is located in Arlington, Virginia. The "Engaged University" out of the University of Maryland runs something called "Reanissance Community Bike Shop" in Riverdale, Maryland. Bikes for the World is sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. And they were joined in the effort by the Mt. Rainier Bike Co-Op in Mt. Rainier, Maryland.

A great group effort, everyone. And thanks to Bea Trickett for posting the information at the Brookland Yahoo! listserv.

Meanwhile, also taking place yesterday, students from American University were collecting donated bicycles for Wheels to Africa, a group located in Arlington, Virginia, that sends refurbished bicycles to needy children and other individuals in African countries. Another great, grass-roots campaign.

Let's hear it for pedal power!


Meg Wolff said...

Horay for pedal power. Thanks for another interesting post!

Freewheel said...

A good cause! Has your daughter come up with a nickname for the purple bike?

Ed Bruske said...

Meg, glad you enjoyed this. There are more people bicycling these days than you might imagine.

Freewheel, like your blog. A great public service for those interested in bicycles. No nickname for the bike yet. But I'm sure that's not far off.