In Red Deer, Alta., the community’s bike club plans to mark this Canada Day long weekend by helping those less fortunate get in the saddle. How? By fixing up 50 bikes, then donating them to the those in need.

The organization, reports CTV News Edmonton, is composed of the Red Deer and Blackfalds Optimist Clubs.

As of now, reportedly, there are about 35 bikes that are either ready to donate or awaiting a bit of love. Group members hope to boost that number by another 15 before the weekend’s out. At what the group calls its “bike bunker,” volunteers help make that happen by putting their tools, skills and elbow grease to good work, making what’s old new again.

Organizers with the Red Deer Optimist bike club, which has been around for 10 years now, say that the work is hard but worth it. They’re always looking for more rides to get ready for new owners.

“We can always use good used bikes that can be easily repaired to give out because we’re constantly giving them out, and needing them,” said Ken Williamson, chairman of the bike club. And if a bike is needed, he says, the club’s doors are wide open.

“We don’t ever discriminate, judge, anything,” added member Shawn Harnum, representing the Blackfalds Optimist Club. “If you need a bike or you want one, you just come and get one.”

Like others who are involved in similar charitable enterprises, Williamson and his bike-club colleagues know well the life-changing, empowering impact that a bike’s independent mobility means, and how it can help people in their darkest, most difficult moments. Recalling a family helped by the club that had fallen on hard times, Harnum said, “When we got to his house all five kids had their face stuck to the back window of the house, waiting and watching all these bikes get off-loaded.”

“I’ll remember that for a long time.”

The Big Bike Giveaway happens at Rivera Retirement Living (Inglewood Drive) this Sunday, July 2, at 11 a.m. The Red Deer community is invited to attend.


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