“I am still a kid at heart and I remember what it was like to get that first bike,” said Joey Redner, owner of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa Bay. The local brewery teamed up with CAN’d Aid to build 101 bikes for the first grade class at Tampa Boulevard Elementary on May 24, 2017, from 6-8 PM. The bikes and helmets were purchased by CCB directly from the manufacture under a special agreement.
“I noticed this one little boy, maybe 10 years old, working his heart out, inflating bike tires nonstop,” said Lucy Gonzalez, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay support staffer. The volunteers inspired her: “The generosity and dedication to quality control was amazing,” she said.
The Tampa Boulevard Elementary children were also equipped with helmets, and reflectors when the bikes were delivered the next day—and, BMX superstar Jeff Lenosky provided the kids some safety education. Redner, though unable to attend the event, applauded the efforts of those who did: “I am blown away by all of our employees, and the response from the community,” he said.
“That feeling of freedom and excitement is something that stays with you your whole life. As a kid, it was sitting on the seat of a bicycle that helped me explore my neighborhood, so it makes me happy to know that a new generation of kids will be out there exploring, getting exercise, and having fun in the city I love.”