Scots asked to donate a bike to help get disadvantaged Glasgow children on two wheels for life
Bike Station and Action for Children appealing for donated bikes to give to children who might otherwise never have a chance to ride
Disadvantaged children who could never hope to receive a bicycle under the Christmas tree are to be given free bikes courtesy of the charity Bike Station in Scotland and Action for Children.
Bikes, donated by generous members of the public over Christmas, are being spruced up and delivered out to children in the North Glasgow area.
"Families who can't afford to buy a bike for their children get one free," Greg Chauvet, managing director of Glasgow Bike Station told STV.
"It's still in the early stages, but people have started to hear about it and it's kept on going.
"A bike is the best gift to give children, it gives them a healthy lifestyle.
"When children go even short periods of time without a bicycle they lose interest, and the whole activity of cycling can be absent from their lives forever and impact their health.
"Keeping them on a bike will provide them with a long lasting relationship with the activity of cycling and all the health, social and environmental benefits. Our charity has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public regarding the bicycle donations we rely on."
The gifted bikes can be used to cycle to school, an activity than Sustrans say 48% of children want to do but only 2% actually achieve.
"I remember my first bike, of course - it was only six years ago," said Greg, who is 36.
"I had a phobia of bicycles when I was younger. I had my stabilisers removed and I was pushed out onto a road and fell in a ditch.
"Back in the 70s everyone used stabilisers, but now we know a balance bike is better for children.
"Then, six years ago, I got my first bike, learned to cycle and my life changed. I wanted to share a life of cycling with adults and children and have found a lot of kids who want to learn."
The bikes can either be a first mode of independent transport for a child, or replace a bicycle they have outgrown.
Bike Station and Action for Children hope to continue the scheme into the new year, following up with 'Dr Bike' sesssions to help teach kids how to maintain their new bikes, at events held by North Glasgow Housing Association.
“Christmas should be a time of joy, but many of the families we support find it incredibly stressful," said Grant McFarlane, fundraising manager at Action for Children Scotland.
"There's a real pressure on parents to give their children the ‘perfect’ day and many simply can’t afford it.
"Action for Children Scotland is very grateful to the Bike Station for its support. The bikes and gifts were passed on to families, helping to ensure that some of the vulnerable children across Glasgow had a present to open on Christmas Day.”
How to donate
Bike Station takes any used/old/discarded/unwanted bike, no matter its age or condition.
They also take any unwanted parts and accessories, such as old locks (with a key/combination), lights, bike panniers etc. The only things they cannot take are old bike helmets.
To donate an old bike, or parts or accessories, click here to see opening hours for Glasgow, Perth and Edinburgh. Some branches can collect.