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. We expect to collect and re-distribute bicycles from all the other local YCC groups, including BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and commuter bikes. Over time, we anticipate the Morgantown community will donate enough gently used bikes to allow us to re-distribute bikes around the state.
Mission & Purpose
Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used bikes, we organize thousands of volunteers to clean and refurbish them, and then we give them away to kids in need.
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. Kent Bicycles (https://kent.bike) also sends returned bicycles to FB4K chapters at no cost.
We already take 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, we 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.
Every year 25 million bikes are sold in the US. One-third of those bikes are 20” wheel-size, or smaller. Since kids grow like weeds, over 8 million bikes are virtually outgrown each year. Endless supply. Sustainability.
We can organize to offer free bike pickup and drop-off services for any member of the community that doesn’t have easy access to transportation. While Morgantown has public transportation, it can be slow and is not suitable for donating bikes and parts.
We can partner with local police to create and maintain a central database of bike registration numbers and associated owners, using metallic stickers and discreet Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Syncing this with either of the two national bike registries will increase the chances of recovery when there are bike thefts. This registration system will be important to pilot with FB4K Morgantown to ensure donated bikes stay in the hands of the kids they are intended for.
While we have bike programming for ages 7-13 (Little Bellas) and ages 11-18 (NICA), the community will need to plan in the future for “littles” rides. Bike playgrounds are part of the trail plan in preparation.
Local recycling programs, like Jeremy Blizard’s Nerd Rage, can help facilitate recycling metal and plastic parts of donated bikes that cannot be re-used. West Virginia was recently selected for the site of a major scrap-fed steel mill (https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/nucor-steel-recycling-mill-west-virginia-investment/).
Our Board of Directors and Staff
Free Bikes 4 Kidz Morgantown is driven by a passionate and invested steering committee.
Find out more here.
Through the generous help of our key partners, such as Christian Help, Animal Friends, St. Ursula church and the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. FB4K Morgantown has begun building the foundation for a sustained presence. We still need support in building the foundation to help every kid in Morgantown ride into a healthier, happier, childhood.