In spite of rain and cold temperatures, Bikes for Kids Utah secured the funds and volunteers needed to distribute free brand new bicycles, helmets, bike locks and bicycle safety instruction to 1,000 underprivileged Utah second graders last weekend in a fund-raising event held on October 5-6 which included a silent auction and 3km and 50km rides with pro Dave Zabriskie, a Salt Lake City native and the third American ever to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
"Seeing a smile on the face of one child while receiving a bike was enough," said Debbie Reid, executive director of Bikes for Kids Utah. "Seeing hundreds of smiling faces made it even better."
Throughout the event, hundreds of Utah second-graders were greeted by more than 60 volunteers and sponsors who distributed bikes and accessories. Volunteers also led students through a bicycle safety fair. Students were fitted for helmets and other accessories.
"Cycling has been a huge part of my life," said Dave Zabriskie, Salt Lake native and Tour de France stage winner. "It has provided me with a lot of freedom and taught me that exercise, discipline and responsibility can be fun. It felt good helping the kids get their new bicycles and I hope they have as much fun with their bikes as I do with mine."
A fundraiser dinner and silent auction raised more than US$11,000 through dinner tickets and donated auction items. A time trial also raised money for Yield to Life, a non-profit organization founded this year by Zabriskie to help educate automobile drivers and cyclist on how to safely share the road.
In an effort to enjoy better weather for the event and ensure the children more riding time on their new bikes, next year's Bikes for Kids Utah events are tentatively scheduled for summer 2008.