- by Ellis Anderson
A colorful new bicycle might top most wish lists for Santa, but without the help of the Bay Rollers Cycling Club, many children in Hancock County would be disappointed on Christmas morning.
Since the group’s Christmas Bike Giveaway began in 2014, the cycling club has collected and given away more than 500 bicycles.
Myron Labat, founder of the Bay Rollers Cycling Club (BRCC), says that this year, the group’s making a special push to collect even more bikes because the pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 event.
To participate, anyone can simply purchase at least one boy’s or girl’s bike (either 20” or 24” size) and a helmet that fits a five- to eight-year-old. Then contact Myron by email or message him on the Bay Rollers Cycling Club Facebook page. The last day for bike donations is December 8.
The children who are receiving the bikes have been chosen by the group beforehand and gather for the giveaway on December 11. This year, there’s an exciting new twist to the event: With the permission of parents, kids who already know how to ride a bike will have the chance to take an actual short ride with the members of the BRCC.
The 15 members of BRCC are active in more ways than one. They take local rides as a group and participate in organized bike rides throughout the Southeast. They support each other during the often challenging treks – some as long as 100+ miles. The group also volunteers to lead and support local running events like the Gulf Coast Marathon.
The annual Christmas Bike Giveaway is the group’s biggest community outreach event of the year. Labat says the group’s goal is to introduce children to the joys of bicycling and to raise awareness about bike safety. They hope many of the children will become lifelong cyclists and continue in a healthy, active lifestyle.
“We put a good bit of effort into this event every year,” says Labat. “In our minds, every kid deserves a bike.”
For more details on how you can contribute a bike to the giveaway, email Labat or check out the BRCC Facebook page. Deadline for donations is December 8.
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