Brooklynn Petersen, a third-grade student, was one of the first to get her new bike. She chose a candy-apple red model. Even though Brooklynn never learned to ride a bike, she said she is now intent on learning. “I’m gonna learn how to ride so fast,” she said.
Then she turned to her friend, Karla Robadel, a fourth grader who also just got a new bike (she chose teal), to ask if she would teach her how to ride. “I can teach you no problem,” said Karla.
Excitement was in the air at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club in Edgartown Wednesday as the 29-year-old bike rental shop Martha’s Bike donated 100 “gently used” bicycles to children at the Boys & Girls Club.
The bikes were lined up in a neat row in the gymnasium, and each child receiving a bike went in individually to choose his or her favorite color and get fitted for size.
Stephanie Burke, vice president of the club’s board of directors, said that by bringing the students in one by one, it makes the event more significant and meaningful.
“Each kid comes in and says, ‘Wow, a bike just for me,’ and that is absolutely priceless,” she said. Burke said instead of having all the kids run in at once, it was better for them to each have a tailor-fitted experience just for them.
Nick Kleidon, manager of Martha’s Bike in Vineyard Haven, said he is happy for the opportunity to give children the gift of a new bike. “Most of these kids don’t own bikes, or they don’t have a nice new bike like these,” said Kleidon. The Gamma bikes they presented to the children were only one year old, and were in perfect condition. “As cyclists, bikes have become our lives at the shop. It’s great we get to give these kids the chance to feel that way also,” Kleidon said.
Burke said she has never seen the kids so happy. “Just think back to getting your first bike. I can remember mine, it was a Raleigh,” said Burke. “It is just so wonderful to see kids who either don’t know how to ride a bike or can’t afford one, climbing onto a brand-new bike of their choosing.”
The children were also given helmets and bike locks.
“My helmet is gray and black,” Karla said, as she grinned and watched other children get their bikes. “And my bike has polka dots on it.”