Cecily and Justin with bikes

Abandoned bikes become holiday gifts for teens in need

Friday, December 14, 2018

Transportation Services and Lion Surplus teamed up with Freeze Thaw Cycles this holiday season to transform abandoned bicycles into refurbished rides for local teens.

Each year, Toys for Tots chapters across the country collect new and unwrapped toys and give them to children who may otherwise not receive holiday gifts. The foundation asks for toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 16, but most donations are aimed toward younger children, leaving Toys for Tots with fewer items for teenagers in need.

Upon learning about this donation gap, Transportation Services employee Cyndi Snyder suggested unclaimed bikes collected at the end of the academic year and stored at Lion Surplus be donated to the local Toys for Tots chapter for older children to ride and enjoy. To ensure the safety and rideability of the donated bikes, local bike shop Freeze Thaw Cycles generously volunteered time to repair and restore the bikes to nearly new condition. 

Cecily Zhu, alternative transportation programs coordinator for Transportation Services, says these bikes are more than just holiday gifts to those less fortunate, but also serve to promote biking and alternative forms of transportation among young people. 

"As rewarding as it is to see abandoned bikes get a second life as gifts, it's even more special to think these gifts could begin a lifelong habit that promotes wellness and sustainability," Zhu says.

For Freeze Thaw, this was a chance to put their bike restoration skills to work for a great cause.

"We're excited for this opportunity to fix up these bikes for teens in the community," says Justin Wagner, co-owner of Freeze Thaw. "We hope those who receive these bikes will enjoy them for years to come."

For more information on how to donate to children in need this holiday season, visit toysfortots.org.