Seventh Year of Big Bike Build - 850 Santa's Helpers Hit the Deck!

Friday, December 2, 2011 — What do you get if you put 850 volunteer cycle enthusiasts in a gigantic hall, give them t-shirts and ask them to assemble bikes? You get 2,400 kids in Santa Clara County who are receiving a brand-new bike and helmet for the holidays. And these are kids who could never dream of getting that wish granted otherwise. That's the Big Bike Build, presented by Santa Clara County's own TurningWheels for Kids organization, and it's happening Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, 8 am to noon, or until the bikes are done.

What: Big Bike Build 2011 – 2,400 bikes for distribution to local charities.

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, 8:00 a.m.- noon (or until work is finished)  

Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, South Hall
435 S. Market St., San Jose, CA (“Blue Tent” next to Marriott Hotel)

TurningWheels for Kids, a program under the auspices of the Valley Medical Center Foundation, presents Bike Build 2011 – the seventh year of providing holiday gifts of  free bikes for underprivileged children.  850 volunteers will gather at San Jose Convention Center’s South Hall on Saturday, December 10 to build 2,400 bikes for distribution to local children’s charities.

TurningWheels for Kids provides free bikes for children in need, to support better physical and emotional well-being. The program serves low-income children who are at high risk for obesity and related health issues and whose families do not have the means to support an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

Interview Opportunities

  • Susan (Sue) Runsvold, Director and Founder of TurningWheels for Kids; Philip Bartkowski and Scott Gruebel, Big Bike Build Event Directors
  • Participants in the Great Tricycle Race: John Bisges, Managing Director of Dynacraft BSC, Inc., Steve Meineke, President of Raleigh America, Josh Thomson, a mixed martial arts champion, Joe Parisi, founder and President of Therma Corp., and other local leaders. Plus, one lucky Bike Build volunteer will win a spot in a raffle that day.
  • Chris Wilder, Executive Director of the Valley Medical Center Foundation, and Leah Toeniskoetter, Valley Medical Center Foundation Board Member. Leah is an avid cyclist who led a TurningWheels cycling team on the 2010 Death Ride, raising $40,000.
  • Pediatrician Patricia Barreto, MD, of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center, will be at the bike build to talk about how important it is to provide at-risk children with fun ways to exercise, as a way to combat the childhood obesity epidemic.
  • Hundreds of volunteers including corporate teams from eBay, Therma Corp., DPR Construction, Seagate Technology, Citrix, and Fox Racing Shox, as well as members from bicycle clubs, bike shops and teams throughout the Bay Area
  • Board Members from TurningWheels for Kids

Visuals

  • 9:00 a.m. – Sharkie, the San Jose Sharks mascot, will be on hand to pump up the crowd. We’re hopeful he’ll take to the track and race in the Great Tricycle Race, as he did last year.
  • 11:00 a.m. – The Great Tricycle Race – a grueling competition mounted on tricycles where competitors will pump, flail, strategize and steer their way around a course in the midst of the bike-building frenzy. It’s a fun and hilarious spectacle.
  • 8:00 a.m. - noon - The Convention Center’s South Hall begins to resemble Santa’s Workshop as volunteers scramble to assemble bicycles following the starter’s whistle at approximately 9:00 a.m.  As the day progresses, the area becomes a sea of bikes!
  • 11:00 a.m. – CityTeam Ministries is partnering to bring 20-30 children who will participate in the bike building and be fitted for bikes and helmets.
  • 10:00 a.m. – noon - Bikes as far as the eye can see during the height of the day’s activities.

Why

TurningWheels for Kids provides free bikes for children in need, to support better physical and emotional well-being. The program serves low-income children who are at high risk for obesity and related health issues and whose families do not have the means to support an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

TurningWheels for Kids was the vision of Susan Runsvold, a nurse manager at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, who wanted to buy bikes at Christmas and give them to underprivileged children; children she believed might otherwise not receive any present from Santa. Runsvold began what she hoped would be a tradition of collecting money from her friends and colleagues to purchase as many bikes as possible for holiday distribution. To date, TurningWheels for Kids has raised nearly $900,000, and it has recently started to visit local neighborhoods to assist with and teach children routine maintenance of the bikes. Thanks to two individual donors who pay all modest administrative fees, 100 percent of all public donations go to buying bikes and helmets.

Each year, TurningWheels for Kids buys flat-packed bikes from participating manufacturers, and rallies hundreds of volunteers for one day of group bike asssembly, with thousands of children receiving a brand new bike and safety helmet. A $100 donation covers the cost of a brand new bicycle, a kickstand and a well-fitting helmet.

For more information, visit www.turningwheelsforkids.org.

2010 TurningWheels for Kids: Great Tricycle Race

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