National News

Local nonprofit gives more than 400 kids their first bicycle

Posted December 4, 2017 12:04 p.m. EST

— More than 400 kids in Portland got a chance to ride a bike for the very first time Sunday. And thanks to a local nonprofit, they got to take those wheels home.

It's a sentimental moment that most of us will never forget: the joy of our first bike.

And now for the first time, more than 400 kids are getting their first ride on two wheels – and it's all thanks to the nonprofit Community Cycling Center.

"Everyone can remember the joy of their first bike and the feeling of being on the bike as a kid and the excitement and freedom and the joy that comes with it," said Kasandra Griffin, who is with the Community Cycling Center.

The program has provided more than 10,000 bicycles to children with families living on lower incomes since 1995.

"Being able to be in a room to create that feeling for 400 kids in one day, it's kind of incomparable," said Griffin.

Normally, these kids wouldn't get the chance to own a bike.

"I wanted to get her something, but I couldn't afford… not just a bike but a helmet and the gears that come along, so I'm so happy and thankful," said mom Momo Okada.

Her daughter Nolia picked out a pink bike, and now she's learning how to ride.

"She's going to practice and we can be riding together," said Okada.

"I've been an emergency nurse for 12 years and I've had moving experiences, this is definitely up there, one of the best experiences I've had in my career," said Geri Gartz.

Gartz is with Trauma Nurses Talk Tough, which provided 400 helmets for all the new riders.

"I think it's a strong testament to Portland in general, this is an example of our community at work," Gartz said. "It's amazing. I have no words and I'm not usually speechless."

Every child also got a bike safety lesson.

Volunteers put in more than 2,500 hours throughout the year for Sunday's Holiday Bike Drive.