Program: Bill’s Bikes For Kids
Submitted by Buff Wright
Claremont Rotary supports programs for young people, and Bill’s Bikes for Kids is one of our most successful continuing programs, now in its 19th year! Bill’s Bikes for Kids started 19 years ago in the garage of then Rotary Club president Bill Gruber. We were honored today with the presence Lois Gruber, the surviving wife of Bill Gruber, the founder of Bikes for Kids. The program has grown to be one our most popular and beloved youth programs. We are very pleased this year to be able to give away new bikes to 29 very deserving students from 4 schools: Oakmont, Mountain View, Sumner, and Vista del Valle. Congratulations to each student!
On December 8, the bikes were assembled by more than 3 dozen people, including Claremont Interact members from CHS and El Roble, Claremont Senior Bike Group members, and Claremont Rotarians. On the morning of the 15th, the bikes were on display at 7:30 am at the Claremont Presbyterian Church, awaiting arrival of children who had written compelling essays to earn a bike.
Following the usual holiday jokes by Club President and M.C. Ron Coleman, and holiday songs by our Interactors, Ron welcomed the kids and families. He gave thanks for the assistance of the CHS and El Roble Interact Clubs, as well as for the assistance of the Senior Bike Group and countless Rotarians. We received help from Richard Mayo of Cycling Connection to purchase the bikes and Mark Cessarelli at Competitive Edge Cyclery in Upland to coordinate with Giant Bikes to purchase the bike helmets. Purchase of the bikes was made possible by donations from Claremont Rotary, and the Claremont Senior Bike Group and other local citizens. Ron highlighted recent donations, including from Deborah Hench, who took advantage of a matching gift from the Weingart Foundation, together donating another $1,000 to the program. Rotarian Dan Kentner also donated $1000. Many rotarians contributed to funding the bikes Ron gave special thanks to Former Claremont Council Member and Mayor, Sam Pedrosa for donating $1,000 from his leftover campaign money to support this program. Sam has supported the program for many years, sharing his object lesson from his terrible accident a number of years ago.
MC Ron Coleman offered final thanks: to Karen Sapio, pastor of the Presbyterian Church for providing the venue; to the Bikes for Kids Committee — Tom Shelley Betty Sheldon, Dennis Smith, Rich Laughton, Jim Lehman, Sean Gallagher, and Lark Gerry, as well as elves Pat Hauducoeur, Nona Tirre and Bridget Healy, and Heather Lyn, advisor of the El Roble Interact Club
Welcome to Honored Guests
Representatives from the four schools included Janie Nuanes, Vista del Valle Elementary; Rria Cruz-Soto, Mountain View Elementary; Brenda Hamlett, Sumner Elementary; Jenny Adams, Oakmont Elementary. We also welcomed President of the Claremont School Board, Steven Llanusa and School board member Hillary LaConte and Claremont Superintendent of schools and rotarian Dr. Jim Elsasser Returning to the scene of the crime was Claremont Police Bike Safety Officer Eric Orozco and Claremont Police Chief Shelly Vander Veen. Also representing the City were Claremont City Council Member Sam Pedrosa, and newly elected Claremont City Council member Edgar Reece.
The Important Stuff
Ron introduced Police Bike Safety Officer Eric Orozco’s short bike safety talk with a quiz: What happened to the thief who stole a Christmas Advent Calendar? He got 25 days! Officer Orozco chuckled, threatened to give Ron a ticket for his bad jokes, and then gave the students some serious advice about caring for their chain, brakes, tires and most importantly, their helmet, and some safe riding rules. He recommended that they use “529 garage” (https://project529.com/garage) to register the bike serial number so if some-thing happens, they’ll be able to identify it.
Next was Claremont former Council Member Sam Pedrosa who stressed the importance of wearing a helmet, even on short rides, illustrating his point with his own helmet, damaged in his accident close to home.
Finally, Tom Shelley, chair of Bill’s Bikes for Kids, provided a handout “What every Parent Should Know” to help them reinforce best practices and rules of the road for bikes.
Upcoming District Events
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 2019 Requires Registration
March 29th - March 31st 2019
District 5300 PETS Makeup Session Requires Registration
April 20th 2019