Toy Lift Charlottesville assembles over 600 bikes for area children

Updated: Dec. 5, 2019 at 10:58 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - Remember the feeling when you got your first bike as a kid? Hundreds of area kids are going to get to experience the thrill on Christmas day thanks to the work of some special cycling enthusiasts.

“I remember receiving my first bike and I lost my mind so I hope that's the case with these kids,” Matt Jones, with Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club, said.

At a makeshift garage in an undisclosed location in Albemarle County, it isn't elves working to make Christmas dreams come true. It's area cycling enthusiasts.

“These are great first time bikes for a lot of kids. They're a great place to start, pretty sturdy and just gives them a foot in the door to biking,” Jones said.

A quarter of a century ago, when Tom Powell was in the early days of putting together Toy Lift, he says they got bikes to 10 kids. This year, more than 600 will get their first ride.

“It grew year after year after year. This will be the fourth year in a row that we've been able to fulfill the bike request for each kid that asked for one,” Powell said.

But first, the bikes need to be assembled. That's what volunteers spent much of this week doing.

“We’re primarily looking at brakes, making sure handlebars are straight. Making sure all the nuts and bolts are tight,” Jones said.

“We all remember that feeling of freedom when we got our first bicycle,” Powell said.

The hope is that those bikes will be more than just a set of wheels to play with because a bike can be so much more.

“A bike is just the key to a lot of kid’s freedoms to just get to and from school, get around town, and eventually we do see a lot of the youngsters coming in and joining us on rides,” Jones said.

On Saturday, volunteers will deliver the bikes to schools around the area. From there, they’ll go under trees ready to make some magical Christmas morning.

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