Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 165 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
This August, in collaboration with Bayview Hunters Point Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (BMAGIC), the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition held its largest-ever Bike it Forward event. Our Bike it Forwards program brings together SF Bicycle Coalition volunteers and staff with community organizations to provide donated bikes to low-income San Franciscans.
Since BMAGIC’s annual back-to-school backpack giveaway in the Bayview attracts thousands of parents and children from the city’s southeastern neighborhoods, we were thrilled to partner with them and hold a bicycle raffle for sixty children. In addition to distributing bicycles through the raffle, SF Bicycle Coalition staff fitted each raffle winner with a new helmet, provided free locks and lights, and taught a safe riding course specially designed for children. Our multilingual staff and volunteers provided bicycle safety education in English, Spanish and Chinese.
“Two twin sisters came over to our table while we were setting up, wide-eyed at the sight of the dozens of bikes waiting to be taken home,” recalled Bike it Forwards Intern Emily Rudger in describing one of many touching moments from the BMAGIC event. “One of the girls had her name drawn in the raffle. Seeing the giant smile on her face as she rode around on her new bike was well worth all the nights preparing the bikes.”
Since its inception five years ago, our Community Bike Build program has taken off, thanks to the efforts of our committed volunteers. In 2018 alone, 367 bicycles were given to low-income San Franciscans.
Bikes distributed at Bike it Forward events are prepared by volunteers at Community Repair Nights. Every other week, volunteers with all skill levels come together at Community Repair Nights to repair unclaimed bicycles that we receive from various city agencies. Volunteers celebrate the fruits of their labor by distributing the bikes they have fixed to low-income residents in need of affordable transportation.
A very special thank you to the countless volunteers who helped us make the BMAGIC Bike it Forwards a success. Thanks are also due to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Spare the Air Youth program for funding the SF Bicycle Coalition’s family bicycle education workshops.
If you would like to volunteer at our next Community Bike Build or Community Repair Night, please visit sfbike.org/volunteer.