The program takes place over three Saturday mornings. The first week we picked out our donated, refurbished bikes. We spent our time cleaning and making minor repairs to our bicycles. Any major repairs were completed by volunteers over the following week. Week two was for safety. We went over road rules and practiced riding through intersections.
I attended the class with my friend Brenda. She invited another friend named Tonya. We were the only three adults in the program without a child. The rest of the class was made up of a group of kids from Children's International. And may I tell you how much I enjoyed those kids! What a fun group with which to spend a few Saturdays.
Today was the last Saturday. We went for a short ride past the Clinton Presidential Library and onto the new pedestrian bridge. As we rode past the library we encountered a large art festival. High school art clubs from around the state were gathered, and they were drawing amazing, chalk images on the sidewalks. It was a visual delight.
We rode back to the warehouse and said our goodbyes. I am going to miss seeing "our" kids next Saturday. Then Brenda and I took our bikes to her house for storage. (I CANNOT believe I forgot to take a picture of my bicycle!) I got an amazing cruiser (circa early 80's) with a sweet wire basket on the front. It is chocolate brown, but I am going to paint it baby blue. I will post before and after photos.
Here are a few of the photos I snapped with my phone today. The old saying is that the best camera is the one you have with you, so I hope you don't mind the picture quality.
Everyone was given a helmet. All the helmets had a shape similar to what you see professional cyclists wear. All of the helmets but mine. None of the "tear drop" helmets would fit on my enormous melon, so I got stuck with the white combat variety. (I'm blaming the thick french braids I was rocking on helmet fitting day.) I looked like I was going to be shot out of a cannon.
I decided to embellish my helmet. I had plans for a more creative design, but being sick for the last two weeks left me with little motivation. The circles still look better than leaving it plain. Note the silver, glittered nickname added to the front. Fun, fun!
Brenda and me over the Arkansas river.
Our motley crew of bikers. I will miss those personalities.
Beautiful chalk art in progress.
Doesn't this make you smile?
I really liked this flaming bird.
This is Malcolm. He is one of the program volunteers. He makes sure the bikes are in good working order for each participant. He is such a delightful character. You will smile if you are in his presence.
I can't express how much fun it was to participate in this program. Not only did I get a free bike and helmet, but I got to spend time with amazing people. The Children's International sponsor said she was happy that we (the grown up girls) were in the class with her kids. She told me that she thought we were good influences and short-term mentors for the children. I was humbled by that remark. It was an honor to help with her group.
One last mention for the YMCA leaders who headed up the program. We were blessed to have God loving folks who were interested in investing in children of the metro community. They were the true role models. They showed God's love and generosity with such enthusiasm. The whole experience was a blessing.