Posted by marilynch
How to help: Bikes, gear, skills for youth and others without
Surely nobody’d like that old bike in our garage–would they? Yes, somebody surely would! See “Who especially needs help now” below.
Some of you collect bikes like guitars! And some of those are mostly gathering dust. Spare bikes and gear, as well as knowledge and skills, can all be put to good use!
Used (or new) bicycles, bike locks, bike parts, pumps, tools, lights, high-visibility apparel, or other bike gear in good working order–as well as new helmets–are needed by youth and adults without these items right here in Monterey County. Gift cards to local bike shops can also be donated.
“Wish I had a bike . . . .”
Can you imagine seeing others riding on the beautiful Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and wishing you had a bike so you could glide along on the bike/multi-use path too? Or not having a car and wishing you had a bicycle to ride (or to bike-and-ride using an MST bike rack), so you could more easily get to work, school, job interviews, or other destinations?
Think that’s not too common in Monterey County? Think again!
Who especially needs help now:
- Graduates of the Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center bike repair and safety class would benefit from donations of bike locks, lights, pumps, tool kits, and more. See “Getting on the right path” for more info, and contact me if you might be able to help.
- Gears 4 Good. Steve Benes has formed a 501(3)(c) nonprofit with a goal of providing bikes for those who cannot afford them. He has already begun to give away the first bikes (see photo below). Please visit http://www.gears4good.com/ and email Steve with your questions or offers to lend a hand. Steve has collected some bikes that require work before they can be donated to those in need, and he would appreciate donations of tires, tubes, chains, and cables. Donating effective used or new bike locks that he could provide with the bikes would be welcome too. Another important need: Steve’s garage is running out of room, and he is looking for donated shop space. Visit http://www.gears4good.com/ and email Steve with your questions.
- Interim, Inc. Interim would love to have good used bikes for use by Interim residents. Interim provides affordable housing and support for adults with mental illness. Interim’s residents are all low-income adults with psychiatric disabilities. Many don’t drive or don’t have cars, so they use bikes to get to the store, to work, to doctor appointments, and to visit friends. Phone Susan Alnes, the Development and Communications Director at 831-646-2220, ext. 306 with questions or to make arrangements to drop off bicycles.
- Safe Place for Youth needs a used or new bicycle parking rack! Contact Gary (831/373-4421). They would also like to offer the youth they serve an occasional small group bicycle ride accompanied by Safe Place staff and experienced local cyclists (perhaps a rotation from among our local bike clubs’ members). Safe Place youth would further benefit from “how to change a flat” and similar basic bike maintenance instruction. Contact Vincent Delgado, co-director of Safe Place, with your questions, ideas, and offers to help; by email – vincent AT chservices DOT org – or by phone, 831-373-4421. You may also wish to donate a new helmet, since they are required by CA law for minors (under 18) and most Safe Place youth are without the means to purchase one. For history, see 2010 Weekly story below.
- Salinas High School students who are hot to be on the bike team! But these teens can’t fully realize their biking dreams because they or their parents cannot, at this time, fit a bicycle in the budget. If you have a used or new road or mountain bike that is in good, serviceable condition, consider donating it to Salinas High School Cowboys Racing team. The team will get that bike to a freshman rider. Click here.
- Rancho Cielo Youth Campus. Click here to read about Luciano Rodriguez’s progress with bringing bicycling to Monterey County’s underserved and at-risk youth at Rancho Cielo, and what help is still needed.
- John Clark of the First Presbyterian Church “Steady Job, Steady Life” program. John is in touch with many local bike-related needs and can see that your donation will be put to best use. Reach John Clark via http://www.fpcmonterey.org 831.373.3031. First Pres is a bike-friendly faith community! (Photo of truck full of bikes, above, was taken at First Pres.)
Photo courtesy of Gears 4 Good: “This East Salinas resident is doing some wonderful work in her community, engaging the youth to participate within their community and stay out of gangs.”–Steve Benes
Don’t have a bike or gear to donate? You can still help.
Maybe you don’t have bikes, accessories, gear, or money to donate, but you have time and skills to share. Some of these organizations also need help in teaching:
- bike maintenance and repair
- bike safety skills
- how to read bike maps and choose where to ride, including safest routes
See “Getting on the right path” regarding the need for more bike repair and maintenance instructors at the Monterey County Youth Center, to allow class sizes to expand.
See “Salinas Youth and Others for Bikes: Bikes Make Life Better,” then jump down to subheader “A dozen ideas to help get youth on bikes.”
Contact Mari with questions, or for more ideas.
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Special thanks to Luke Shenefield for donating five bicycles to Safe Place in response to the request below, which originally appeared on this site in December 2010. You’ll often see Luke and his wife, AnnMarie, and their children on bikes about town. Luke is a veteran cyclist of Team Roaring Mouse.
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Season of Giving
As Christian Daniels, volunteer bell-ringer for the Salvation Army, can attest: The best parking at the Monterey Post Office today was for cyclists, right at the front door! Most PO patrons who came by car found it challenging to park. As you can see from the long line stretching into the box lobby, there were many people at the PO today, waiting their turn to have the hard-working staff help them get those Christmas gifts en route to loved ones.
Maybe you’d like to bike for some of those holiday errands, but you just aren’t sure. Check out this site’s shopping-by-bike section. If you’re wondering about the chance of rain, see “Biking through the Seasons.“ And whether for a rainy-day back-up plan or just because you live too far from the places you need to get to, consider bike-and-ride options.
Bikes for at-risk, runaway, and homeless youth
Christian and others are well aware that many people in our community don’t have the option of shopping, or biking.
There are many fortunate kids in our community who not only have their own bicycles, they also have strong families they can rely on for back-up transportation. And there are also teenagers here who, for whatever reason, don’ t have a parent they can call on for a ride. For such kids, a bicycle can especially be a godsend!
Donate a new or used bike or accessories directly
If you’d like to donate bikes to some bike-less members of our community, consider donating a new or good used bike to Safe Place. Visit the Safe Place website to learn how they serve local youth: http://www.chservices.org/youth_services/youthservices.html Perhaps you’ve read about them in the Monterey County Weekly’s story on “Invisible Children.”
Safe Place also welcomes donations of bike lights, locks, helmets, high-visibility apparel, tire-patch kits and basic bike tools, or other accessories. See Personal Safety for a few ideas.
If you need to shop for new items to donate, visit any of the Monterey County bicycle shops. Our local bike shops and services can also help you tune up a good used bike so it’s in tip-top condition before you donate it to Safe Place; prices for servicing bikes are usually very reasonable. You may call Safe Place at (831) 373-4421 to make arrangements to drop off your donations.
Donate a gift card for a local bike shop
Too busy? Call a local bike shop and use your debit or credit card by phone to have a gift card for Safe Place waiting for them at the bike shop. A Safe Place staffer could later come by and choose what’s most needed. Safe Place is near the downtown tennis courts and Jacks Park, and it is also close to the Monterey Sports Center. There is a bike shop very closeby–Aquarian at Bay Bikes, which would be especially appropriate to patronize if you are purchasing a gift card for Safe Place.
Season of giving
Thanks to Christian Daniels for taking time out today to help our community. You may want to check out the Salvation Army’s free iPhone app that allows you to be a Salvation Army virtual bell-ringer. In my childhood years, my parents would place boxes of reusable clothing and other goods on the porch regularly for the Salvation Army pick-up. In 2002, I became aware of the extent of this organization’s good work when a beloved elder and his family benefited greatly from the local Salvation Army’s adult day care setting.
When you’re out doing holidays errands, please pause and support the Salvation Army or other local charities. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many folks who not only don’ t have the money to go shopping, or a bike to go biking, their needs for basic necessities are urgent.
More ideas for where to contribute
Consider donating time or resources to support the Bicycling Monterey website and projects. Click here to learn more.
Portions of this post were originally published 2009-2010.