80 children receive their first bicycles at Bikes for Kids at Hacienda!

Helmet fittingOn Saturday, May 1st, Latino and Somali families gathered to participate in the Community Cycling Center’s Bikes for Kids at Hacienda.

Our volunteer crew arrived bright and early to set up repair stands and a bike rodeo in the parking lot behind Hacienda Community Development Corporation’s Ortiz Center in Portland’s Cully neighborhood. Inside the center, we created safety stations, a helmet fitting room, and more.

With the help of dozens of volunteers, we transformed the Ortiz Center and parking lot into a neighborhood bike extravaganza and delivered a total of 80 bicycles to kids living in Hacienda’s housing in NE Portland.

The mechanics finished setting up before the 11 am start time so were happy to help residents make repairs on the few bikes they already had. This extra time provided lots of teachable moments to help kids and parents learn about how bikes work. “One huge benefit in bringing this event to a neighborhood full of kids is being able to help with these repairs and having time to visit with parents and community members,” noted Alison Graves, Community Cycling Center Executive Director.

Amid the flurry of families speaking Somali Bantu, Spanish, and English, volunteer interpreters escorted kids through the event, helping them select bicycles, having their new bicycles adjusted properly, and then leading them to the rodeo finale.

RodeoSeveral kids who had previously received bicycles at the Holiday Bike Drive rolled up on bikes and trikes to try out the bike rodeo, and parents and community members came to watch the festivities. One boy who received a bike at the 2009 Holiday Bike Drive rode around the rodeo and parking lot all day long,

At the end of the day the few bikes remaining were distributed to kids on the long wait list, including three children from a family who had arrived in the United States less than a month ago. Muna Farah, Hacienda’s After School Program Coordinator, brought the family, who were all smiles, to the event. “The kids are just starting to learn English and all they can say is ‘bike,’ because the other kids have been telling them about today’s event.”

Bikes for Kids is the first event the Community Cycling Center created in partnership with Hacienda CDC to help increase access to bicycling in communities of color in N/NE Portland.

Photos by Joel Schneier

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