Des Moines Bike Collective Donates to Madison Students

Imagine walking to school some chilly November morning and riding home that afternoon in the sunshine on a free bike!

Thanks to the Des Moines Bike Collective (DMBC), 27 kids at Madison Elementary School got there yesterday either on their own two feet or on four wheels and took home another means of transportation at the end of the day.

The DMBC is a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycling as a means of active transportation, wellness, and recreation in Central Iowa. DMBC accepts donations of good-quality used bikes and recycles them back into service.

Brad Overholser coordinated the event for the DMBC in collaboration with Barry Jones, the district’s Executive Director of Elementary Services and Madison Principal Marsha Kerper. Similar events are in the works at Findley and Cattell. In addition to the bikes each kid was also fitted with a new helmet, courtesy of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa.

Kerper and her staff identified 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who did not have a bike and contacted their families to gauge interest in the DMBC program. When the lucky selected kids filed out to the playground after school many were sporting Christmas morning-sized smiles. Some not only didn’t have a bike but had never learned how to ride one. For them the necessary balance generally came quicker than how to hit the brakes. Fortunately the flashy new helmets never had to prove themselves against the playground asphalt.

Riding a bike is often cited as a skill that is never forgotten once acquired. It’s like reading that way and both are key to the grade school experience and beyond. So when 27 kids stayed after school yesterday at Madison it was like watching them get on their way literally and figuratively at the same time.

The bike rack at Madison looks forlorn. It’s seen better days. Kerper says it rarely holds more than one or two at a time. But while the unseasonal weather hereabouts cannot last and the suddenly thundering herd of bikes at the school may soon go into storage for the winter, next spring a new coat of paint may be in order for that bike rack. It’s rusty now but it stands to be a much busier hitching post once these cowboys/girls and their ponies get better acquainted.

Photos of Des Moines Bike Collective at Madison Elementary School

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