BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — For most kids, there is nothing quite like finding a new bicycle under the tree on Christmas morning.
KNX 1070’s Diane Thompson reports the “Bike Angel of Burbank” is behind an effort to turning old bikes into a holiday blessing.
Elaine Pease, a Building Division inspector for the city of Burbank, started a small project in 2008 to restore used bicycles and answer the Christmas wishes of children in the San Fernando Valley.
Since then, the program has expanded under the direction of Pease to 50 “Bike Angel” volunteers restoring and refurbishing 200 bikes in 2012.
Pease said what makes the year-round effort so rewarding is the reaction she sees from struggling families who receive a bicycle through the program.
“I’ve seen war whoops of delight, I’ve seen tears of joy, I’ve seen parents who break into tears and hug me, and it’s things like that that make working with this program all year round absolutely more than worthwhile,” said Pease.
Pease first came up with the idea after seeing gift requests from children that were hanging from the Salvation Army’s “Angel Giving Tree” in the lobby of the city Administrative Services Building.
While Pease had never refurbished a bicycle before, she said the program immediately drew volunteers from the Burbank Police Officers Association, who provided bikes, tools, and money to purchase helmets and locks.
The program also received help from Burbank Fire Fighters Association 778, including donations for seats, tires, and grips.
“We’ll take a bike and we’ll clean it, we’ll assess it, we’ll change out any parts it needs, tubes, tires, seats, grips, whatever,” Pease said. “We’ll go through it completely and then we’ll detail it so it looks like new.”
Donated bikes range from BMX bikes and cruisers to bicycles for young children to ride.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Bike Angel program is asked to call the Burbank Recycle Center at (818) 238-3900 or visit the city’s website for more information.