Free Bikes 4 Kidz (FB4K) is an established national organization that collects, fixes, and donates bikes in 15 cities (https://fb4k.org). FB4K is one of ten partner organizations part of Morgantown’s Youth Cycling Coalition (YCC) pilot city program (https://youthcyclingcoalition.org/pilot-program/).
Morgantown is the national pilot for the Youth Cycling Coalition, which seeks to benefit underserved groups especially. They expect to collect and re-distribute bicycles from all the other local YCC groups, including BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and commuter bikes. Over time, they anticipate the Morgantown community will donate enough gently used bikes to allow them to re-distribute bikes around the state.
FB4K Morgantown will enable even the youngest children to learn to balance before they can pedal using Strider Bikes (https://striderbikes.com), provided at no cost, shipped by the palette load from Amazon returns (see attachment). Kent Bicycles (https://kent.bike) also sends returned bicycles to FB4K chapters at no cost.
FB4K already takes in gently used bikes from local community members and Youth Cycling Coalition organization partner groups. The cost of repairing/refurbishing each bike and providing a helmet averages $25 (per FB4K national). Then, they will donate bikes to community partners (NICA, Little Bellas, and others) who get them to families who need them. This model has been self-sustaining in other cities: FB4K has given away almost 100,000 bicycles nationally (https://fb4k.org), and chapters have been successful in obtaining corporate sponsorship for ongoing operating expenses.
With West Virginia’s growing emphasis on outdoor recreation as an economic driver, it is important to get children attached to outdoor activities like bicycling. Physical activity not only offers health benefits, but improves self-esteem, increases mental well-being, and reduces depression. People who bike together build social bonds through shared interests.
Volunteering with FB4K will let interested youth learn skills in bike repair/maintenance; if interested, they can continue to develop vocational skills through Youth Cycling Coalition partner Project Bike Tech, which will offer a 2-year training program in bike repair and maintenance for juniors/seniors in Morgantown.