Helping Others

North Natomas volunteers celebrate MLK Day building bikes for kids

Michael Wilson, also known as “Bike Mike,” adjusts a wheel while volunteering at “50 Bikes for 50 Kids” in 2013. The event pairs up teams of volunteers with kids ages 9-17 to build bikes for the youngsters to take home.
Michael Wilson, also known as “Bike Mike,” adjusts a wheel while volunteering at “50 Bikes for 50 Kids” in 2013. The event pairs up teams of volunteers with kids ages 9-17 to build bikes for the youngsters to take home.

More than 200 volunteers turned out Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by helping kids build bikes in North Natomas.

Organized by the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, 50 Bikes for 50 Kids pairs up teams of volunteers with kids ages 9-17 to build bikes for the youngsters to take home. The event, held in the Natomas Middle School gymnasium, was part of National Day of Service on the holiday.

Each child receiving a bike was nominated by a community leader or teacher. Nominees had to either live or go to school in North Natomas.

It’s such a great way to really celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Any kind of walk of life you can really imagine just put into one room with one underlying common factor of the bicycle.

Abbey Stumpf, of the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, which organized the 50 Bikes for 50 Kids event

NNTMA Communications and Program Coordinator Abbey Stumpf said the program received almost 90 nomination essays.

The bikes are funded in part by Natomas Bike Shop and Specialized Bicycle Components, which manufacture the bikes, and in part by $250 donations from individuals and businesses. Each bike is worth more than $400.

Three women from Image Orthodontics helped fourth-grader Adriana Carabez build her bicycle.

“We don’t know, really, how to build a bike, but we’re going to do it with all of our heart,” said Rachelle Doyle, marketing coordinator for the company.

Volunteer professional bike builders were available to help and inspected each bike.

“It’s such a great way to really celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. in my opinion,” Stumpf said. “Any kind of walk of life you can really imagine just put into one room with one underlying common factor of the bicycle. They’re kind of just the vehicle to get everyone into one room to support the community.”

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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