Bikes at Christmas time have been a Syracuse tradition for nearly two decades. The CNY Family Bike Giveaway plans to continue that tradition, but needs some help. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with the founder, who would like every child in need to ride away with a bike this year.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Riding a bike is a childhood rite of passage, but many people don't have access to one. For nearly 17 years, the Central New York Family Bicycle Giveaway has made them accessible.
CNY Family Bike Giveaway organizer Jan Maloff said, "This may be a family's only gift for the year. One thing that our program always makes sure is that if mom and dad want bicycles, they will get them, too."
This program is free and takes place every year at Fowler High School the Saturday before Christmas. It relies on donations and help from volunteers, like Miguel Baptista, who spends a lot of time in the Dairy Building at the Fairgrounds making sure the bikes are good to ride.
Baptista said, "We inflate the tires, then we put a sticker on them so that other volunteers will know they've been inflated, then someone else will check them again. Then if they're deflated, we know there's a flat. We got to fix the flat, then once we fix the flat, we test drive the bike to see if there's anything else wrong with it."
Every year, the need continues to grow. Last year they gave out more than 3,000 bikes. This year they're hoping to do the same, but they only have about 400 bikes on hand at this time.
"People should not be afraid or ashamed to bring out whatever they can,” Maloff added. “Even if it's rusty or missing parts, that bicycle might be a part that we need and we can put on another bicycle."
And that bicycle will soon be put in the hands of a child who doesn't have one.
For Maloff, it's a way to bring in holiday cheer. His way happens to be on two wheels.
The bikes will be given away Saturday, December 22nd at Fowler High School beginning at 10 a.m.
In addition to bikes, parts and monetary donations, the organization could also use a few extra hands during the giveaway.
Central New York Family Bike Giveaway
319 Barrington Road
Syracuse, NY 13214
Donations can be made at the Dairy Building on the Fairgrounds everyday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.