It's around this time of year families often start to notice the clutter in their garages: the extra toys, the boxes from houses past, and especially for families with multiple children, the old stack of outgrown or unused bicycles that haven't been ridden in months (or years).
The Committee for Helping Others (CHO), along with local elementary schools, are asking residents to give those extra bikes this holiday season to kids in need through a donation drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Bikes @ Vienna.
Bikes @ Vienna owner Tim Fricker, who has volunteered his services again this year to repair bikes collected by the groups, says he helps out to help give local children the same experience many residents had in their own younger years: the magic of getting their first two-wheeler and taking it out for a spin.
Children in families for whom money is tight don't get to experience that same kind of luxury so many children in Vienna do; without they drive, they would "otherwise never know the sheer joy of receiving a bike at the holidays," Fricker said.
Vienna and Flint Hill elementary schools have made a push for their students to surrender unused bikes for the drive, but the biggest effort to date has come from Antioch Christian Church, which collected about 50 used bicycles in their basement on Beulah Road.
Residents with bikes to donate can bring them by anytime Saturday, but it will be difficult to get the two-wheelers road ready by Christmas beyond this weekend, said CHO's Dan Larkins. If families want to donate bikes in good condition after Dec. 2, they can call 202-681-5279 to try to schedule a pickup.
Last year, a total of 419 kids, 80 of whom were teenagers, were given bikes, helmets, toys, gift cards, clothing and food as part of CHO's annual drive. In all, 125 families benefitted from assistance.
"I think we probably all remember getting our first bike at the holidays, and I'm just happy to be a part of bringing that happiness into the lives of less fortunate kids," Fricker said.
Residents can drop off bikes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at Bikes @ Vienna,128 Church Street NW # A.