Manitoba

Cycle of giving: 24-hour bike-fixing marathon brings fresh wheels to Manitoba kids

With tires spinning and music playing, a group of volunteers spent 24 hours fixing up bicycles for kids in Manitoba.

Event turns discarded bicycles into holiday presents for children in need

Volunteers gathered at Rossbrook House in Winnipeg to refurbish hundreds of bikes for children in need. (CBC)

With tires spinning and music playing, a group of volunteers spent 24 hours fixing up bicycles for kids in Manitoba.

The sixth annual Cycle of Giving event at Rossbrook House, a safe space for youth on Ross Avenue, turned a trailer full of kids bikes into a holiday presents over the weekend.

"Everyone's been working really hard through the night, and we're pretty happy with where we're at," said Jon Benson, Cycle of Giving co-ordinator with the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH), a Winnipeg-based bicycle charity.

The final tally was 334 bikes. 

The event took months of preparation as WRENCH gathers discarded bikes from the Brady landfill, she said. The bikes are then brought to Rossbrook House where volunteers of all ages change one person's garbage into a Christmas treasure.

"There's a whole flow. Each station gets one bike," explained Benita Kliewer, an executive director of the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH), a Winnipeg-based bicycle charity.

The first station sees the bike get fixed up. It then moves to a quality check with an experienced bike mechanic. After, the bike is brought to a washing station to make sure it's a fresh set of wheels.
WRENCH gathers discarded bicycles from the Brady Landfill which are then fixed up and washed to be given as gifts. (CBC)

Finally the bike lands at the card-making station where it's accompanied with a special holiday message.

Volunteer Scott Hazeu said it's a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

"Everybody brings what they got and we crank out some bikes and hopefully some Christmas cheer," he said. "It's a unique event."

Last year the Cycle of Giving handed out 391 bikes to more than 20 schools, daycares and social agencies.

Kliewer said they are also trying to raise $15,000 for bicycle programming in for Winnipeg youth throughout the year.  

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