An upcoming 24-hour bike-building marathon is looking to outfit more than 200 children in need across Winnipeg with a bicycle this holiday season.
From Sat., Dec. 15 to Sun., Dec. 16, the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH) will host its second annual Cycle of Giving at the Atomic Centre in the North End with the aim of refurbishing more than 200 salvaged and used bikes while raising $15,000 for community bike shops across the city.
"Bikes are very significant in a kid’s life," said WRENCH executive director Pat Krawec, who lives in the West End.
"It represents a lot. It’s freedom."
WRENCH, the city’s largest community bike shop, began the event last year after seeing the large number of kids’ bikes being discarded at the Brady Road Landfill site, where they get much of their bikes to salvage and strip down for parts.
"Kids’ bikes are viewed as so disposable. There are tons and tons of bikes there," Krawec said.
"We have this gross overconsumption and terrible child poverty in the city. Why don’t we do a bit to remedy both situations and celebrate the good work our volunteers do year round?"
Mechanics at last year’s event refurbished 244 bikes, which was significantly more than the target of 150 that had been originally set, Krawec said.
From volunteer mechanics to delivery drivers, the organization is hoping an outpouring of community support this year can beat last year’s tally.
WRENCH is also looking for food donations for the event, crafters to make cards and decorate the bikes, and cash donations.
Organizers are hoping to raise $15,000 to distribute lights and locks to community bike shops across Winnipeg.
"Our community is just like a wheel. Everyone who we bring in is another spoke to the hub," Krawec said.
"The more spokes you have the stronger the wheel."
The bikes will be donated to 10 youth-serving agencies across the city, including Rossbrook House, the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, IRCOM, the West Central Women’s Resource Centre, and five Family Centre locations in Transcona, St. Vital, Charleswood and Tuxedo.
Valerie Christie, who runs the Westgrove Family Resource Centre, said the bikes will go a long way in her community. The centre received nine bikes last year and is expected to receive about 20 to 25 this year.
There are about 75 kids at Westgrove, Christie said.
"I don’t know what it is about bikes, but they don’t last long in our community," she said.
The Atomic Centre is located at 167 Logan Ave. The event begins Sat., Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.
For more, visit www.thewrench.ca.