SOUTH SALT LAKE — Sharen Hauri designs bike lanes and trails for the city, but she found not a whole lot of kids were using them because they don't have access to a bike.
"We've got kids who are walking two miles to and from school or their bikes get stolen," Hauri, urban design director for South Salt Lake, said. "They can't get around and do the things they want and need to do."
On Saturday, Hauri was helping the local chapter of Free Bikes 4 Kids to fit more than 250 kids with their very own bikes.
More than 100 of those bikes were gathered by 14-year-old Ashton Lindley, of Mountain Green, whose father heard about the organization on the radio and thought it would be a good idea for his son's Eagle Scout project.
The two thought they could round up a couple dozen bikes and were touched by the bikes that "just kept coming in," Trevor Lindley said. Most were sitting unused in people's garages, some were newly purchased for the endeavor.
"I grew up riding bikes in my neighborhood and always had one in my garage, and I think we take that for granted," Ashton Lindley said. "It was a big part of my childhood and I think everyone deserves to have that."
Seeing kids light up with the prospects of having their own bike, he said, was really "cool."
"It made me so happy," Ashton said.
The donated bikes aren't necessarily in working condition, and that's where Jeff Goddard, owner of Guthrie Bicycle in Salt Lake City, comes in. He and countless volunteers spent the days and weeks during the last couple months fixing bikes of all sizes to give away.
It's the fourth year Guthrie has been involved in the nationwide organization, Free Bikes 4 Kids, which aims to "turn a dusty bike into a shiny smile," according to its website.
"I love biking and I want kids who don't have a chance to do it to experience that," Goddard said. He said it feels good giving kids something they really want rather than something they need.
For a lot of the kids — who are identified by caseworkers who work with the more than 2,000 children in after-school programs throughout South Salt Lake — it's their first bike.Comment on this story
But, Hauri, who is lovingly called "the bike lady," said just about every kid they serve is in need of a bike. The more than 200 bikes on site Saturday at one of the organization's sponsors, Nate Wade Subaru, will be gone by the end of the week, she said.
Helmets were provided by Robert J. DeBry, another sponsor who wants to keep kids safe; and bike locks were handed out, too, that were purchased with funding donated to the organization.
"It's a great way to help kids get around," Hauri said.
For more information about Free Bikes 4 Kids, visit www.FB4Kutah.org.