Kids on Bikes, the Indy Give! nonprofit dedicated to helping children have healthier, happier lives through biking, has had a very productive year. In addition to organizing weekly rides for Colorado Springs-area families and providing bikes and helmets to children in need, it celebrated a grand achievement in August — renovation of the affectionately named Popcycle Bridge, near Beacon and Van Buren streets.
In collaboration with partners throughout the city, Kids on Bikes turned the once-drab bridge tucked along the Santa Fe Trail into a vibrant rest stop complete with a newly paved path, wooden benches and colorful, bike-themed metal artwork.
But if 2015 was exciting, the months ahead promise even greater accomplishments. Today, Kids on Bikes is in full-fledged fundraising mode for a brand-new Family Bicycling Center.
"We want to be able to equip the average family with everything they need: bikes, helmets, locks, knowledge of where to ride, safety and encouragement," says executive director Nikki McComsey. "Basically, everything a family would need to begin bicycling."
The vision for the center includes repair stations, retail services, cycling education, community gathering space, and, of course, bikes for children, all in a downtown location near Shooks Run. McComsey says launch is set for this coming spring. And although 10-year-old Kids on Bikes needs funding to create the center, the ultimate plan is that it be self-sustaining.
"The term is 'social enterprise,'" says McComsey. She explains, "With our retail component of selling refurbished bikes to the community, the plan is for that to allow the center to eventually support itself."
In the meantime, Kids on Bikes is working to take full advantage of its inclusion in the Give! campaign.
On Saturday, Dec. 19, Criterium Bicycles owner Nic Ponsor, Kids on Bikes board member Stephanie Surch, and Kids on Bikes program director Daniel Byrd will ride at Criterium for 24 hours straight on calibrated compu-trainers, stationary bikes that simulate a real ride.
Each will likely hit 200 to 300 miles, and none of them will stop, not even to sleep.
McComsey would love to see community members come out and rally during the bike shop's business hours.
"It's a huge commitment from them," she says of the volunteer riders. "We're hoping people will come into Criterium and cheer them on, make a donation, bring them food, and then come celebrate in their last hour of the ride."
She adds with a laugh, "It's a little crazy, actually, and they're gonna need all the support they can get."
The 2015 Give! Campaign features 88 area nonprofits. To learn more, volunteer or donate, visit indygive.com before midnight on Dec. 31.