BURTON — Nearly 80 Flint-area youngsters received free bicycles and helmets this summer thanks to the efforts of CTI – Communications Technologies Inc. of Burton, and the Friends of the Grand Blanc Grid.
CTI owner Jeff Allen said he and his staff began working on the bike giveaway with the Burton Rotary Club about eight years ago. After about two years, Allen “decided to run with it.”
“I have 25 to 30 employees and their family members who really enjoy doing it,” Allen said. “We collect and work on the bikes. We have after-work parties and we check the tires, brakes, etc.”
Jeff Rains, a member of the Grand Blanc Grid, said the group of bicycling enthusiasts partnered with CTI three years ago.
“I’ve done work with CTI for about 20 years, so I volunteered with them,” Rains said. “Then, I told the (Grid) group about this fantastic work they were doing donating bikes and they thought it fit right in with what we were doing and we kind of migrated into that.”
Initially, the Grid helped with collecting bikes. This year, they also donated safety helmets.
Rains said Grid members were concerned that the kids who received the bikes didn’t have access to the proper headgear.
The Grid’s main focus has been to promote pathways as a safe alternative to walking or riding along the road, so the helmet program seemed like a natural extension of that mission, Rains said.
“When we saw that CTI had this program, we thought it was a great cause,” he said. “When you get down to what our group is, it’s not just trailways, it’s safety. So, when we looked at that, we thought it was great that the kids are getting bikes, but it’s just as important that they are getting helmets. We agreed as a group that we should make it happen, get every kid a helmet.”
The Grid also partnered with the Crim Foundation and HAP which donated several helmets.
Allen works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Flint to identify kids who need bikes. The Rotary still helps with hosting the luncheon and adjusting the seats when the bikes are presented to the children.
“It’s very rewarding,” he said. “For these kids to have bikes … we have to teach a lot of them how to ride a bike. It’s part of giving back to the community.”
“CTI does a great job and we’re happy to partner with them,” Rains said. “It’s something we think is the right thing to do.”