(Courtesy: City of Boston)
A city bike donation program has given 60 bicycles and helmets to a group of Roxbury youngsters.
Helmet-wearing children, between 2 and 7 years old, from the Orchard Gardens and Whitter Street developments inspected and tested out their fresh set of wheels at an event last Wednesday evening in the Orchard Gardens Community Center.
Bikes Not Bombs trained the children skills for proper, safe bike use.
"These are your bikes," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino to the children at last week's donation ceremony co-hosted by the Boston Housing Authority. "But there's only one rule we have -- you must wear your helmet."
The refurbished bicycles were donated by Allston- and Needham-based International Bicycle Centers through "Roll it Forward," an initiative of the city's bikes office. The program has collected 700 bikes since it was launched in October; of those, 300 have been refurbished and distributed to children.
"Three years ago the mayor said we're going to transform Boston into a world-class bicycling city and we are looking at our future right now of our world-class bicycling city," said former professional bicycle racer and Olympian Nicole Friedman, head of Boston Bikes. "We are building future cyclists, future Olympic champions and most importantly cyclists in Boston."
"Roll it Forward" is on track to reach its goal of collecting, repairing and donating a total of 1,000 bikes to residents from low-income communities across city neighborhoods by next March. Each bike recipient is fitted with a helmet and taught safe riding techniques.
At the end of March, two more donations of around 40 to 60 bikes each will be made to residents of the Orient Heights and West Broadway developments in East Boston and South Boston, Friedman said.
Program partners have included Boston Public Health Commission which funds the program through a grant, Bikes Not Bombs, Eastern Mountain Sports, Giant Cycling World, International Bicycle Centers, Pedro’s USA (official tool and bike care supplier for Boston Bikes), Quality Bike Products, Salem Cycles, Wheelworks, Back Bay Bicycles and the Town of Sudbury recycling center.
To see a video from last week's donation, click here.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at email@example.com.