Wheelie big deal: Edmonton school kids get new bikes from Sport Central

Students are riding high at McArthur School in northwest Edmonton after a charity donated 57 refurbished bikes – and new helmets – this week.

“When we were outside playing, I was playing football, then I saw the truck full of bikes and I was like, ‘Oh my God, the bikes are here! “” Yahia El-Gabbour Actif told CBC radio. “I feel so amazing.”

Active Radio5:00Sport Central’s free bikes bring joy

We head to McArthur School where 57 refurbished bikes have been dropped off for very happy students.

The bikes were delivered Thursday by Sport Central, which operates across Edmonton and northern Alberta. Through volunteers, the charity repairs, recycles and redistributes donated sports equipment to children in need.

“The Power of Sports”

Sport Central partnered with the school to identify students who would benefit from a bike and connect with families for information and consent. Equipment was collected from more than 30 drop-off locations across the city.

“We receive well over 3,000 bikes a year,” said Karst Bakker, logistics coordinator at Sport Central. “All were donated by Edmontonians.”

Michele Burzminski, a teacher at McArthur School, helped coordinate the delivery with parents and Sport Central.

“It’s about the power of sport,” Burzminski said.

“We know healthy kids are happy kids. Happy kids love school.”

Grade 6 student Tabasum Sayed Zada ​​wears a helmet in the school gymnasium. Tabasum said her silver bike will allow her to ride with her brother, which she has been looking forward to since moving from Afghanistan to Edmonton. (Ian Kucerack/EPSB)

Eleven-year-old Tabasum Sayed Zada ​​was thrilled to receive her new bike in the school gymnasium. A Grade 6 student from Afghanistan to Edmonton, she has been off wheels since arriving in Canada.

“I’m so happy because the bikes keep me healthy,” she said. “I can finally play with my brother, it’s really exciting.”

Tabasum was outfitted for her new mount, a silver bike with purple rims – her favorite color. She had planned to come home from school with her friends that day.

“When my friends are happy,” she said, “it means I’m happy.”

A man stands in the back of a truck, the door wide open.  He wears jeans, a gray sweater, and a camo baseball cap.  He hands a child-sized purple mountain bike to a man standing outside the truck wearing a blue t-shirt.  Two young boys wearing sweaters look on, and in the background there is a blue sky and a sign saying McArthur Elementary AD 1959.
Karst Bakker of Sport Central unloads bikes from a truck. The organization has refurbished the donated bikes so they can be donated to students in need at McArthur School. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

Bakker, who spent the day unloading, outfitting and setting up kids with new bikes, says the ability to drop off donations in person is his favorite part of the role.

“It’s amazing to see all those smiles, to hear them say, ‘Oh, I think that’s mine,'” he said.

“It’s incredibly rewarding.”

Ruth J. Leeds