I like bikes. Always have. I love watching my four-year-old figure out how to glide and lean into a curve. When I see him, I’m reminded of that first feeling of freedom that I never lost a passion for.
As an adult, I graduated to motorcycles, but always found myself going back to bicycles. I write this having just returned from three days of cycling with old friends in Vermont. We fought our way up steep climbs and plunged down twisty descents. We broke out of shaded, wooded lanes into beautiful, bright, green mountain meadows. We ate nice meals at an inn and sat around the table catching up over glasses of wine.
It was pure joy to be on my bike rolling along and sharing time with my friends.
But for much of the world, a bike means something far more than a vacation or recreation. The freedom a bike provides takes on a different and more significant meaning because for millions of people around the world, a bike means more than a feeling of freedom. It means actual freedom. It means the ability to pursue education, or sustainable employment, or provision for your family, and it can all be dependent on the simple transportation a bike can provide. We labor over the decision to finally purchase a minivan when much of the world loads a family of four or five or six onto their motorbike.
Last fall, I heard that our Director of Asia Aftercare, Dr. Gundelina Velazco, was looking for bikes in the Philippines. A number of our reintegrated girls needed bikes to pursue a new life outside of the Love146 Round Home. They needed bikes that would help them get to school or travel to a job.
On a whim, I reached out to an old friend who designs products at Specialized Bicycle Components, a company based in the United States and one of the largest bike brands in the world. After a few months of back and forth with their staff, 10 brand new mountain bikes from Specialized were delivered free of charge to our kids in the Philippines by Dan’s Bikes, a local dealer in Manila!
Three of the bikes will stay at the Love146 Round Home so that the children in our care can have that same thrill and feeling of freedom that I first experienced as a kid. Seven of the bikes are being delivered to our reintegrated girls who will use them to get to school or go to work and provide for their families.
We’re hoping this is just the beginning of our relationship with Specialized and that more children in our care will have access to a bike and everything that comes with it.
But in the mean time, the good people at Specialized and Dan’s have provided a means for freedom for the children in our care and we are so grateful.