“It is a big, beautiful idea, and I can’t stop smiling.”
— Kasandra Griffin, executive director of the Community Cycling Center
On Sunday, December 3rd, the Community Cycling Center celebrated 22 years of the Holiday Bike Drive, a program that has provided over 10,000 bicycles to children from families living on lower incomes since 1995. The 22nd annual Holiday Bike Drive was a heartwarming delight of over 400 children finding and riding their first bicycle. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden joined in to celebrate bikes, kids, volunteerism and community..
“To many, the Holiday Bike Drive looks like the day in which over 400 children get a bike,” said Kasandra Griffin, Executive Director of the Community Cycling Center. “But for me, the Holiday Bike Drive looks like the first day of a lifelong relationship with bicycles for over 400 children. It is a big, beautiful idea, and I can’t stop smiling.”
On the day of the event, over 400 children, their families, and 175 volunteers convened at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s Atrium. Each child participated in a series of bike safety lessons and received a personally fitted helmet before choosing their first bike, which were all restored by volunteers contributing over 2,500 hours over the year. Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough program donated helmets to be given to each child at the event and trained the volunteers at the helmet fitting station.
“We advocate bicycling as a way for children to get outdoors, get some exercise, and have fun,” says Roy Ball, R.N., M.S., trauma program manager for Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. “Oregon requires helmets for children age 16 and younger who ride on a bicycle; even toddlers riding on a bike with someone. Our Trauma Nurses Talk Tough program promotes prevention and reducing risk and injury. By offering free and reduced bike helmets to our community, we help to ensure that children and adults protect themselves, thus reducing the chance for serious injury.”
Volunteer interpreters helped create an inclusive and welcoming event by translating safety instructions and other information into Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Somali, and other languages spoken by participants and their families.
Congressman Blumenauer likes this event so much that he teamed up with the talented folks at Salt & Straw to create a Fruitcake ice cream, proceeds of which will benefit the Community Cycling Center.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than coming together as a community to help young people get their first bike,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “I’m excited for another year of fruitcake ice cream and supporting the important work of the Community Cycling Center.”
Sen. Ron Wyden joined Representative Blumenauer as a special guest of the event and celebrated children not just receiving a bicycle, but receiving the right bicycle for them and the skills to use it safely.
“The Community Cycling Center deserves huge praise for its annual bike drive, which recognizes the importance of kids getting an opportunity to exercise for their physical and mental well-being while also providing them a great way of getting to and from school,” said Sen. Ron Wyden. “I am honored to support Congressman Blumenauer and this wonderful labor of love that helps so many children in our community.”
— Steph Routh is the communications director for the Community Cycling Center
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Steph Routh lives in Portland’s Lents neighborhood. She is the former executive director of Oregon Walks and a founding board member of Cycle Wild.