“For many of our most vulnerable community members, access is the obstacle standing between them and a better quality of life. Through LACBC's #LACountyBikeMatch program, we aim to eliminate that barrier by providing Angelenos with a free bicycle, making transportation one less thing to worry about. Bike Match Bonanza takes that effort further by also creating a one-stop shop for helmets, locks, and lights as well as teaching bike safety basics, giving cyclists everything they need to be safe and mobile. The Bike Match Bonanza saw dozens of LA's most vulnerable cyclists achieve something many struggle with everyday: transportation freedom.” - Kevin Shin, Deputy Director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
For the first time in LACBC history, we orchestrated a large-scale bike match event at The Center in Hollywood where we distributed 61 bikes to folks who needed them on Friday, August 5. We then donated an additional 25 bikes to the Center to continue matching bikes with their clients. Thanks to the generosity of partners Santa Monica Spoke, Wheels to Africa, Thousand Helmets, Walk ‘n Rollers, and mechanics from the Bicycle Kitchen, LACBC was able to provide free bicycles to essential workers and people experiencing homelessness.
“For 17 years, we’ve been collecting bikes and sending them to Africa so that people can go get water and use it for transportation. This year, transportation costs went sky high and it didn’t make sense to send them to Africa. We had 220 bike collected and were trying to find people in need, a good place for them [where they could] help somebody that needs help.” - Sergio Mancilla, Volunteer for Wheels to Africa
During the last two years, more Angelenos discovered biking is not just a great way to enjoy exercise, but also as an affordable and sustainable way to get around their neighborhoods. To do our part, LACBC launched our #LACountyBikeMatch program in 2020 to help folks interested in switching to biking to meet their commuting and recreational needs by matching them with a free bike.
With a generous donation from Wheels to Africa, we knew we needed a different game plan than matching bikes to riders one at a time. Santa Monica Spoke, a chapter of LACBC, and the Center in Hollywood, a non-profit for the unhoused, provided us with the resources, space and participants to put this event together.
"Our effort to improve the quality of life for everyone here at home in Santa Monica and across all of Los Angeles to make the entire County safer and more bikeable - no matter the zip code, which is why we are thrilled to sponsor LACBC's Bike Match Bonanza in Hollywood." - Cynthia Rose, Director Santa Monica Spoke and LACBC Chapter Board Representative
After checking in, recipients were taught bike safety basics from our League Cycling Instructors. Even those new to cycling would have the knowledge necessary to check the essential mechanics of their bike as well as how to make turn signals and scan the area for potential dangers while riding.
With a mixture of bike types, brands and sizes, participants could pick the bicycle that was just right for them. LACBC offered receipts to indicate ownership for the riders then, with the help of Thousand Helmets volunteers, led them to bike lights, u-locks and a selection of 100 helmets provided by Thousand Helmets.
“For us, I think that LACBC and the work you guys do is super aligned with our mission. We try to help give access to people and make [safe] cycling easier for people.” - Gloria Hwang, Founder/CEO of Thousand Helmets
Together, we can provide much-needed alternatives for essential workers to get to and from where they need to be while also supporting our local bike shops and mechanics. During these difficult times, we are especially grateful to our partners for their help in creating a more liveable Los Angeles for everyone by giving Angelenos access to all the benefits of bicycling.
Originally launched during the pandemic as an effort to help essential workers find affordable alternative transportation, the #LACountyBikeMatch was intended to be a one-to-one match between a generous donor and a recipient in need. During 2020, LACBC received a generous donation of Pure Cycles bike frames that we paid mechanics to put together to give out to the community. That was the start of our large-scale #LACountyBikeMatch events to bring more bikes to the community, and we gave away more than 35 bikes in one day. Since the start of the program, we have matched over 200 bicycles to Angelenos in need.