40 children gifted with bikes, helmets at bicycle rodeo

May 8—THOMASVILLE — Hubs and Hops, in collaboration with the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club held a bicycle rodeo and giveaway for local youth on Friday afternoon in hopes of preparing the kids and teens for the upcoming summer season.

The bike rodeo was the brainchild of Doug Kirk, who spends his winter season in Thomasville.

According to Hubs and Hops owner Roger Hawkes, Kirk began seizing donations last year and would repair them throughout the winter.

"He asked about forming a partnership with us and wanted to do something with the bikes," Hawkes explained.

That is when the duo partnered with the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club to put together a bike safety course and giveaway.

Children of all ages were asked if they owned a bicycle with MNW Boys and Girls Club Resource Development and Marketing Director Tiffany Davis recording the answers.

Davis would then verify the answers with the children's parents. Once the parents verified the child did not own a bike, Davis let them in on the surprise.

"We let them know what we are doing and that someone will have to be here to pick up the bike on that day," she said.

On Friday afternoon, parents picked up excited kids, who were fitted with new helmets, a restored bicycle, and even lessons on how to ride a bicycle.

Due to some of the children not owning a bike, lessons were never given. However, Hawkes and his team made sure to provide the necessary training on how to brake, pedal, and push off.

"It's pretty rewarding to be able to do this," Hawkes said. "Everyone enjoyed being able to help kids learn to ride their bikes."

Nearly 40 children received their own bicycles and helmets.

"They come out and pick out their own helmet, they are fitted for their bike and then go through an obstacle course while riding their bike properly," Davis shared.

Davis said she was thankful for the opportunity to partner with Hubs and Hops for the second year to provide for children in the community who may never otherwise have a bike.

For Hawkes, it was a team effort, one that wouldn't have been possible without the help and donations received by Kirk and his wife.

Hawkes said he anticipates the bike rodeo to now be an annual event. However, he said due to space Hubs and Hops is unable to accept bikes throughout the year. They will ramp up donations again next year though, so he encourages everyone to save their old or used bicycles until April.