We all know Portland has a reputation for being an excellent bicycling city. But dedicated bike lanes and stellar repair shops aside, not every Portlander has the luxury of owning a properly sized and maintained ride. Enter Bikes for Humanity PDX. Since 2005, the nonprofit has connected the Portland area community with bicycles and bike knowledge and empowerment.
The Bikes for Humanity PDX, or B4H PDX model is simple: Thanks to donations, the organization is able to provide free or low-cost bikes for residents of all ages, sizes and skill levels. Each rider is also equipped with the knowledge and skills to clean, maintain and do simple repairs through the nonprofit’s workshop program.
“Our organization believes every cyclist can rely on their bike, maintain it, and support other cyclists better with some basic mechanical knowhow,” says director Andrew Shaw-Kitch.
In its roughly 18 years of existence, Shaw-Kitch says the organization has received nearly 10,000 bikes. Of that number, half have been refurbished by staff and volunteers, including kid-specific bikes. (The rest have been scrapped and used for parts or sold as-is to home bike mechanics and partner organizations.)
“The pride of our organizations is working with Portland Public Schools and other local districts to grant bikes to students who have completed our bike safety program or are referred to us because they’ve outgrown their bike, had it stolen, or otherwise want to ride to school and can’t,” he says, adding that B4H PDX receives about 10 bike donations each week, year round.
It’s easy for families to get involved, too, from donating bikes, to volunteering in the Southeast Powell shop. Shaw-Kitch says a lot of what volunteers do is clean donated bikes, while also learning about their mechanics. He adds that the organization is also seeking new board members.
B4H PDX is hosting free repair events in Gresham near the Coho picnic shelter (just north of Tsuru Island) from 11 am-2 pm on the second Saturday and third Tuesday of the month now through September. For more information and to schedule an appointment to donate, test ride a bike or volunteer, visit b4hpdx.org.
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