Do you remember your first bike? How about the first time you rode without training wheels? When my nephew was five he got his first bike. You could see the glimmer in his eye. He was finally on the move.
When I volunteered at the Tulsa Tough this past June I noticed the excitement of the small spectators watching, eyes wide, as riders zoomed past their faces. As a volunteer, one of my tasks was to pass out prizes for the kid races (0-6 and 7-12). There were a lot of emotions from the little ones. Some wanted to win so badly and they pedaled as fast as they could, others enjoyed the stride and excitement of it all, and a small group seemed shy or scared. One little rider, probably 5 years old, stopped mere feet from the finish line where his contemporaries were gathered. He seemed scared to move an inch forward. I approached him and knelt down in his line of site at the finish line. A crowd nearby noticed that he was so close but not moving forward. They started cheering which made his eyes grow even wider. With a warm smile I held out his prize, a bright pink water bottle, all I had to offer. I said “Here you go!” He slowly rolled forward, the crowd grew louder, and he reluctantly took his hand off the handlebar for a split second to take the water bottle before grasping it again. I inched backwards to move out of his way, trying to coerce him to keep moving forward. He barely crossed the finish line when I handed his prize to his Dad.
For most children a bike is a possibility for adventure or a prize. For some, a bike is also a tool for a better future.
“Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s program in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Since World Bicycle Relief’s founding in 2005, it has delivered more than 220,000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to people in need.
Qhubeka helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.” (From qhubeka.org, August 2015)
Children receiving a bike, no matter where they live, increases their growth and development and possibly change their trajectory. Click here to learn more about how you can donate to Qhubeka. #BicyclesChangeLives