Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah Online Auction Benefiting Bike Walk Savannah

This year the traditional raffle, co-hosted by  Bike Walk Savannah, is a virtual auction. All proceeds from the auction will benefit our local non-profits,  Bike Walk Savannah and Mountainfilm on Tour – Savannah. Bids will help support local outreach programs, including Movies that Matter, an educational program that screens free documentary films for public school students in Savannah- Chatham County and Effingham County. More information. 

Advocacy organizations around Georgia working to make the season brighter for children through holiday bike programs

Making the best of a difficult situation

As the pandemic bike boom continues, bicycles remain a hot commodity and that applies to children’s bikes as well. That hasn’t stopped bicycle advocacy organizations from continuing annual programs aimed a making sure children in their communities are able to experience the joy of receiving a bicycle. It’s definitely been more difficult this year, though, according to BikeAthens Executive Director Scott Long.

“Each year the BikeAthens Holiday Bikes for Kids (HB4K) program donates refurbished kid bikes to our service partner organizations. The major recipients in years past have been Project Safe, Children First and the Athens Land Trust,” he said. “This year, due to COVID-19, we will be doing a smaller batch since we still don’t have our regular volunteer sessions in our shop. In addition to the lack of volunteers, the supply chain for bike parts is still straining due to massive demand for bikes during the pandemic. It’s been hard to get basic stuff like tubes and chains.”

Bikes refurbished by BikeAthens volunteers await distribution to their new owners.

 
Still, Long said he and his volunteers are, “giving it our best shot.” He said they’ve also modified the way they work to keep their volunteers safe.

“Our normal sessions after Thanksgiving would usually have nearly a dozen of our regular volunteers cranking out bikes for us to donate. This year that has been replaced with volunteers picking up bikes to work on at home and bringing back the ones that are ready to go,” he said. “Each bike that we donate will also come with a brand new helmet and a pocket guide on how to ride safe.”

Caila Brown, executive director of Bike Walk Savannah, said the organization’s Holiday Bike Drive is continuing this year, but has a new sense of urgency and new challenges.

“This is the seventh year we will be working with Blessings in a Book Bag, an organization that provides food, uniforms, supplies and mentoring to kids in our Title I schools. Our volunteer driven program collects bikes from around the community, fixes them up, and works with BiBB to identify kids of all ages who have put in hard work — especially during a tumultuous year of virtual learning — and may not receive many presents otherwise.”

Completed bikes outside Bike Walk Savannah’s New Standard Cycles workshop.

Brown said economic pressures faced by struggling families are even worse this year, and she hopes that will motivate people to dust off bikes that have been outgrown so they can be enjoyed by children who wouldn’t be likely to receive a bike of their own.

“We all remember the first bike that was all ours, and the feeling of freedom and power that came with it. But for some kids in our community, they won’t see a bike shaped wrapper under the tree — and may not see any presents this year. Many families in our community have already faced employment, housing and food crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are going to feel the impacts tenfold this holiday season.”

Brown’s organization has also taken steps to protect the health of her volunteers, by reducing the number who are participating in the program this year. They also move their workstations into the parking lot and limit their time inside the building.

“These volunteers work outside, increasing the amount of space available to distance,” she said.

In Middle Georgia, Charise Stephens of U Create Macon said her organization is holding an end of the year bike drive to supply bikes, “not only for the bike teams (Middle Georgia Composite, Major Taylor Middle Georgia, Trips for Kids Middle GA, and We Bike GA) but to give out to underprivileged youths, including some of the kids on the team so they can have their own bike.” 

One recipient of a U Create Macon bicycle went on to be one of the fastest members of the mountain bike team.

 
Stephens said U Create is receiving bikes through a contactless, curbside drop-off system designed to keep volunteers and donors safe. She has a list of children she’s trying to find bikes for before Christmas and has been pleased with the generosity of donors, who she follows up with to report on how the bikes are changing children’s lives. And she’s detected another factor at work.

“A lot of people are at home and have more time on their hands because of the pandemic, so they are looking around and see these bikes collecting dust in their garages.” she said. “They want to do something positive with them.”

Donating to U Create is a perfect match in these cases, Stephens said.

“That is what we are trying to achieve here in Middle Georgia,” she said. “To get more kids on bikes!”

Elsewhere Around the State

Bike Alpharetta is in the midst of its 14th Annual Bikes for Kids. At its Annual Domestique Day on Dec. 5, volunteers will be busy, “cleaning and repairing 250+ previously-loved bicycles, tricycles and scooters” to get them “Santa Ready” for North Fulton Community Charities. Last year Bike Alpharetta distributed 274 bikes and trikes, while recycling more than 1,632 pounds of steel and rubber.

Atlanta’s Free Bikes 4 Kidz is also seeking volunteers to help on Dec. 5 to prepare bikes for its giveaway event. Experienced mechanics are especially needed. Last year 600 Atlanta children received free bicycle and helmets.

Savannah Literary Scavenger Hunt

The weather is still beautiful, and let’s get movin’ around Savannah! Bike Walk Savannah and  Live Oak Public Libraries present the Literary Scavenger Hunt around Savannah, taking place Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Nov. 25. On Monday, Nov. 10, BWS will post a list of items from our scavenger hunt — complete a row, column or diagonal each week and share your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to be entered to win a BWS and LOPL swag bag. More information. 

Savannah Literary Scavenger Hunt

The weather is still beautiful, and let’s get movin’ around Savannah! Bike Walk Savannah and  Live Oak Public Libraries present the Literary Scavenger Hunt around Savannah, taking place Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Nov. 25. On Monday, Nov. 10, BWS will post a list of items from our scavenger hunt — complete a row, column or diagonal each week and share your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to be entered to win a BWS and LOPL swag bag. More information. 

Savannah Cranksgiving

The eighth annual Savannah Cranksgiving Ride is Saturday, Nov. 14 starting at 1 p.m. Cranksgiving is half bike ride, half food drive and a 100 percent fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon helping others.
 
Bike Walk Savannah (and you!) will be helping feed hungry people at Emmaus House. Founded in 1982 by a group of downtown churches, Emmaus House provides food and day services to the homeless and needy of Savannah. Breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, fifty weeks each year.
 
Registration for the ride starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at BWS HQ (Corner of Henry and Lincoln streets). At registration, participants will receive a shopping list of items needed by Emmaus House, as well as a scavenger hunt. The challenge begins at 1:30 p.m. when riders roll out to shop by bike. Participants should pick up items from the shopping list without going over $15-20 price limit. This is not a race! Riders may compete by themselves or on teams (up to 6 members). More information

Savannah Literary Scavenger Hunt

The weather is still beautiful, and let’s get movin’ around Savannah! Bike Walk Savannah and  Live Oak Public Libraries present the Literary Scavenger Hunt around Savannah, taking place Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Nov. 25. On Monday, Nov. 10, BWS will post a list of items from our scavenger hunt — complete a row, column or diagonal each week and share your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to be entered to win a BWS and LOPL swag bag. More information. 

12th Annual Moonlight Garden Rides

MGR 2020 will have a bit of a different feel, but all the same fun!

This year participants from all over will pledge to bike, walk, run or roll a certain amount of miles from October 1 to October 31. At the same time, participants will set personal and team fundraising goals to support Bike Walk Savannah’s crucial work in the Greater Savannah area.

Whether you are a casual cyclist or runner or an avid enthusiast, Moonlight Garden Rides is a great way to connect with the Savannah community. You can choose to fundraise and earn great perks for reaching your goals, or make a donation on behalf of yourself or a loved one. More information.

New League Cycling Instructors are ready to roll

LCI Seminar Participants in Athens
LCI Seminar Participants in Savannah

Georgia Bikes hosted a League Cycling Instructor Seminar Sept. 11-13 with all candidates successfully completing the rigorous training required by the League of America Bicyclists.

League Cycling Instructors are, “ambassadors for better biking through education. After earning certification through a three-day, League Coach-led seminar, LCIs teach Smart Cycling classes to children as well as adults. Their goal is to help people feel more secure about getting on a bike, to create a mindset that bikes are treated as vehicles, and to ensure that people on bikes know how to ride safely and legally.”

The newly certified LCIs are:

  • Jason Perry (Athens)
  • Joshua Crawford (Columbus)
  • Caila Brown (Savannah)
  • Irene Ivie (Athens)
  • Liz Solomon (Athens)
  • Scott Long (Athens)
  • Patti Sistrunk (St. Simons Island)
  • Carmen Kuan (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.)

The seminar was originally scheduled to be held in Macon, but the pandemic required modification of the program’s format. Instruction was delivered by LCI Coach Jenni Laurita through videoconferencing, with candidates meeting at BikeAthens and Bike Walk Savannah for on-bike course modules facilitated by League Cycling Instructors Steven Cousins, John Bennett, and Christopher Mojock. All participants at the Athens and Savannah sites followed strict COVID protocols, including mask wearing at all times. This is only the second LCI Seminar to use the online/in-person hybrid model developed to offer LCI training during the pandemic. 

For more information on Georgia Bikes’ safety education programs, contact John Bennett. 

Wednesday Walks

Staying physically active is important for both physical AND mental health, and is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to get out for a walk around their neighborhood or yard! Tune in on Wednesday for a prompt of something to share from your adventure, and take photos to share your walk. Make sure to tag Bike Walk Savannah and #BikeWalkSAV #WednesdayWalks.