Every Kid Needs a Bike: Pedal it Forward

pedal it forward

Pedal it Forward gets Northwest Arkansas on Wheels

Hey kids, you probably already know Northwest Arkansas is one of the coolest places around to ride your bike. Cities like Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale, as well other smaller towns, have lots of great bike trails and safe places to ride. Many of the local business and organizations have invested to help build the trails, too. The Walton Foundation alone has invested $74 million in the region’s trails, which now make up a network of about 350 miles of mountain biking trails, including more than 130 miles of paved paths.

With so many great places to ride your bike, one organization has decided to do something to make sure everyone has a bike to ride. The mission of Pedal It Forward is to increase the number of people using bikes for health, transportation, and recreation. They provide bikes to those less fortunate in Northwest Arkansas. While the program provides “free” bikes, they do suggest people pay $20 for a bike, or whatever they can. Pedal It Forward also provides free helmets with every bike.

Pedal It Forward was started about five years ago by three guys who enjoyed riding the trails in Norwest Arkansas together: Justin Tubb, David Tovey and Gary Vernon. They were out riding together one day and just came up with the idea to give some bikes away for the upcoming holiday season. That year they wound up giving away over 100 bikes. It was so successful that they soon added volunteers to
help out.

Last November they hired Don Butcher to manage the program. “Just to see the look on the faces of adults or children when they get a bike is just amazing,” Don said. “We are up to over 40 volunteers and always looking for more.”

How does it work? Pedal It Forward collects used bikes, fixes them, then distributes the bikes to those in need through over 60 “Pedal Partners”—places like the Arkansas Correction Center, Salvation Army, homeless shelters and the Veterans Administration.

Pedal It Forward serves rural and urban low-income kids, adults and families, at-risk youth, minority and immigrant populations in Northwest Arkansas.

“We give away all kinds of bikes, all styles, all sizes to all kinds of people in need: toddlers to the aged to the physically challenged,”
Don said.

You can donate a bike and help “Pedal It Forward” yourself.

Your family can be part of Pedal It Forward’s mission to get Northwest Arkansas on wheels. Do you have a bike you’ve outgrown or no longer need? You can help another kid get a bike!

The best way to donate a bike is to drop it off at one of their shops during operating hours, which are Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. If this doesn’t work, you can always drop it off at any local bike shop and tell them it’s for Pedal
It Forward.

What kind of bikes do they accept? Pedal It Forward will gladly accept any new or “gently used” bike. It doesn’t have to be perfect. They can fix bikes with flat tires, slightly bent rims, rusted brake cables, broken shifters, missing parts, etc.

However, if a bike has been left outside for a very long time and
is just a “rusted heap of metal,” they won’t be able to work with it
and prefer that it not be dropped off.

How about bike parts? Yes! They especially like parts that are
still useable to help get good bikes up and running again.

Pedal It Forward has two shop locations. A Bentonville location at 3902 NW Wishing Springs Drive, and a Rogers location at 315 W Olive Street – just north of the Activity Center in the same parking lot. Call (747) 217-2703 or visit pedalitforward.org

Do your part to help everyone get a bike!!

By Randy Rice • Special to Official Kids Mag

 

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