Free Bikes 4 Kids
Mary and Terry Esau among thousands of refurbished bikes to be gifted to kids.
Self-described “bike-o-holic” Terry Esau is always at his happiest when he’s hitting the trail. And for nearly a decade, he’s been on a mission to give kids the same thrill.
“I have never gone on a bike ride where I haven’t come back with a big-ole smile on my face,” he says. “I want every child to experience that joy, but there are literally millions of kids across the U.S. whose parents cannot afford to get them a bike.”
With millions of outgrown bikes gathering dust each year, Esau thought, why not gather them up, clean them off, and gift them to other kids? Beginning in 2008, Esau, his wife Mary, and their friends spread the word around town, and were thrilled when 250 bikes were dropped off at the Esaus’ garage in Orono. They refurbished and donated them, and it was so fun that they agreed to do it again the next year, and then the next. By the third year, with bikes spilling out of his garage, Esau started a nonprofit and selected a board. In 2015, Free Bikes 4 Kidz set a Guinness World Record by collecting 5,512 bikes—in one day. It now operates in Minnesota, Utah, and Georgia.
This weekend at Mall of America, 5,000 bikes will be given to kids ages 2-22, (from tricycles to two-wheelers) who have been selected by local nonprofits and social services organizations. Esau can’t wait to see their faces light up. “Every child who receives a bike sprouts a smile,” he says. “It matters. It makes a difference. And we feel lucky to play a part in this process.”
Check out Free Bikes 4 Kidz’ giveaway at Mall of America’s North Atrium entrance, Level 1, this Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4. For donation and volunteering opportunities, visit fb4k.org.
Photo by Steve Tiedman
Free Bikes 4 Kidz
5,000 refurbished bikes ready and waiting to be donated to local kids at Mall of America.