Today, Madison Community Foundation has announced its 8th grant recipient from its 75th Anniversary Year of Giving: Mad About Bikes, which celebrates Madison’s vibrant biking culture.

The $84,200 grant includes a 1,000-bicycle giveaway, as well as new public fix-it stations, multiple bike repair internships for community youth, starter bicycles for beginning riders, and safety education and repair training for riders of all ages. Mad About Bikes will provide access for all riders, regardless of economic status, and help them take advantage of Madison’s Platinum-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

The Mad About Bikes giveaway, organized by the new nonprofit Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, begins with a public collection day on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Area residents can donate gently used bikes at select SSM Health Dean Medical Group locations from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Volunteer cleaners, preppers and mechanics will refurbish the bikes to make them safe and reliable, and then give them away through a network of area community organizations on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used bikes, we organize hundreds of volunteers to clean and refurbish them, and then we give them away to kids in need. Founded in Minneapolis, Madison is the fourth Free Bikes 4 Kidz location.

“Madison is blessed to have world class cycling infrastructure and advocacy and our goal is to make sure that extends to everyone in our community,” said Andy Quandt, executive director of Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, said in a statement. “We’re so grateful to Madison Community Foundation for supporting FB4K Madison’s efforts to establish a sustainable supply of bicycles so that any child who wants a bike gets a bike.”

In addition to the giveaway, the Madison Community Foundation grant supports a community-wide effort to increase access to bikes, bike safety education and repair training for families. Highlights include mobile bike repair stations, ongoing bike maintenance, bike repair internships, establishment of a Mobile Bike Hub — an electric-assist bicycle outfitted as a repair vehicle, bicycle storage solutions, and encouragement opportunities.

Collaborating partners include Wisconsin Bike Fed, which is coordinating this portion of the Mad About Bikes grant, Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, Healthy Kids Collaborative at American Family Children’s Hospital, Madison’s Community Schools Leopold Elementary and Mendota Elementary, Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Wheels for Winners, Dream Bikes, Tri 4 Schools, the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board, and the city of Madison.

“The Bike Fed is thrilled to partner with great organizations throughout Dane County, working to increase ridership among diverse communities,” said executive director Dave Cieslewicz in a statement. “We know that simply having a bike does not mean that children will ride. Family engagement, comfort with skill and safety, and having a fun place to ride are all key components of creating fun, family bike rides. We’re excited to make this happen for all our families.”

Wisconsin Bike Fed is the largest statewide bicycling advocacy organization in the county. Established in 1942, Madison Community Foundation is now comprised of more than 1,075 charitable funds with approximately $220 million in assets. In the last 25 years, together with donors, MCF has given some $200 million to nonprofits in Dane County and around the world. During its 75th Anniversary Year of Giving MCF will award 12 major gifts totaling nearly $1 million to community nonprofits.

Written by Madison365 staff