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Portage County Children Servicesteams up with Ravenna bike shop

Foster kids in Portage County get free bicycles

By Beacon Journal staff report

Ravenna: Angelina, 7, has a plan for her new bike: Get a basket and give her cat a ride.

She was among 10 foster children who received free bicycles at Portage Cyclery on Friday, courtesy of the bike shop, donors and the Portage County Children Services.

“We want to make sure that every kid in foster care gets a bike,” agency supervisor Scott Lazzara said.

Children Services launched Bikes for Kids in July with the goal of providing 100 foster children with their own wheels.

Bike shop CEO Kevin Fowler said about 70 bikes have been donated so far for toddlers on up. Not all of them can be rehabilitated for the kids, but those that can’t are being used for parts.

Still, more bikes are needed for the many more children in foster care.

So the bike shop will sponsor what it calls a Family Fun Fitness Event on Sept. 28.

It will include two rides that begin at 10 a.m. — a road ride that leaves from the shop on state Route 59 and a family-friendly trail ride that begins and ends at Beckwith Orchards in Kent.

All participants will meet back at the shop for free food, music and fun. Well-wishers can drop off used bikes at the same time, as well.

In the meantime, Children Services and the bike shop will be readying 10 bikes at a time for the children. New helmets, courtesy of the agency, also are part of the donation.

Tomorrow’s recipients will follow in the footsteps of this week’s children. They picked out their bike from those that were available and test drove them in a wide expanse of the store, where a banked wall beckoned to the most ambitious.

Watchful adults stood at the ready, helping some to master bicycling, fitting some to the right-size bike and promising extra accessories — such as colorful tassels and bells — to still others.

For details about donating a bike or the family event, contact store manager Casey Anderson at 330-839-8429.


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