Matt Bawtinheimer of Oak Bay Bikes works on one of the 60 bikes collected by the Spandads in a bid to get bikes out to kids this Christmas. (Photo by Malcolm Gaylord)

Matt Bawtinheimer of Oak Bay Bikes works on one of the 60 bikes collected by the Spandads in a bid to get bikes out to kids this Christmas. (Photo by Malcolm Gaylord)

Spandads ensure bikes a possibility around Greater Victoria Christmas trees

Oak Bay Bikes service department lends a hand with labour, expertise

Christmas morning will roll in with bikes around the tree for kids who might not otherwise have them.

The Spandads, a group of Victoria area fellows who ride bikes “seriously but not too seriously,” put out the word for the group’s annual bicycle collection to donate to the Salvation Army, said Tye Spicer.

The cycling is a way to stay connected socially, get out and about and enjoy the sport, he said. An important component though, is the giving back. Early this month, the men spent a day gathering up the donated items across Greater Victoria. This year the total hit 60 bikes, so the giving could cruise right into the new year.

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There may be young people with a few scrapes Christmas morning, christening new bikes on wintry driveways, but otherwise riders will be safe and secure knowing professionals at Oak Bay Bikes had a hand in the venture.

The Spandads gather the bikes, then mechanics inspect them, provide maintenance and make necessary repairs.

“It’s always been a fun thing we look forward to,” said Malcolm Gaylord, communications manager for Oak Bay Bikes. The business donates the labour and time, as it’s a fun bike-specific way to give back.

“The folks in the service centre do a great job all year long, but I know for them it’s nice to give back to a good cause. It’s different when it’s for kids and families in need. Our biggest role is making sure the bikes are worth the rolling and worth gifting,” Gaylord said.

The shop also fills a giant advent calendar in its Oak Bay Avenue shop, where patrons can buy a day for a $20 donation and the money goes towards necessary parts.

Once the bikes are in top condition, they head out to what Spicer calls the “distribution experts.” The Salvation Army ensures the bikes go where needed.

RELATED: Spandads group collects, donates more than 100 used bikes

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca


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