Athens County Children Services receives truckload of donated bikes

A large trailer with brand-new bicycles of all sizes and colors rolled in to the Market on State Street last week to deliver 50 bikes to Athens County Children Services just in time for the holidays.

Also loaded on the trailer were helmets and locks to go with the bikes, said Kate Koch, founder of Bike Lady Inc., who coordinated the donation.

“Kate believes in the unparalleled magic of the holiday season and the power of a bicycle to change a young life for the better,” as stated on her website.

Koch, of Gahanna, was once a foster parent with Franklin County Children Services, but is now the adoptive mother of two children — a 7-year-old girl, and a 6-year-old boy.

Despite coordinating donation efforts to bring bikes to thousands of foster children since 2008, Koch never cycled till 2013 when her sister gave her the gift of a bike.

This year marks the eighth season for the all-volunteer Bike Lady donation effort, she said. Although Athens County, along with Meigs and Washington Counties, which also received bikes, has been part of her donation effort for several years, she aims to add new counties to her list.

Washington County received 47 bikes; and Meigs County saw 17 donated bikes. All in all, Koch arranged for donations across 32 counties this holiday season.

The bikes all came from Huffy Corporation, a Dayton-based bicycle manufacturer, and are funded through corporate and private donations, Koch said. The helmets came from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. Additionally, all of the bikes are assembled by inmates at three Ohio prisons, primarily Pickaway Correctional Institution.

“We hope the bikes provide foster children freedom, opportunity, joy, hope, and the promise of adventure and great things to come, as well as a positive lifelong memory, as everyone remembers their first bike,” she said.

Calls seeking comment from Athens County Children Services were unreturned prior to The Messenger’s deadline.