A Maple Ridge student is using his love of cycling to give to others this holiday season.
Matthew Goncalves, 17, has fixed up 16 used bikes to donate to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
The Grade 12 Westview Secondary student put out the call for donations of used bikes on Oct. 29. Since then he has rounded up 60 bicycles –donations of all sizes. He has received adult mountain bikes, road bikes, children’s bikes and everything in between. He even received a trailer bike, a half-bike that attaches to an adult bike.
He received some donations from Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot, and others by posting requests on social media.
Then, he connected with local bike shops and sporting goods stores for the donations of parts – like tubes and other small accessories – to fix the bikes.
Goncalves learned the ins-and-outs of bicycles over his Grade 9 spring break. During his time off he took part in the Trek bicycle U-Wrench pre-apprenticeship program that led to a seasonal position where he assembled bicycles for the summer.
But it was through his scouting experience where he learned about community service.
“I’ve learned that some kids don’t have access to that sort of thing or they can’t afford it because of other life situations,” said Goncalves about access to proper cycling equipment.
“To me this has a more personal connection to what I’m doing because I’ve always been in the bike scene. I’ve always liked riding bikes and I see lots of people who don’t have the income,” he said.
So, he decided for his Career Life Connections class, a class he is required to take in order to graduate from high school, to do this project. Career Life Connections is a class that teaches graduating students about life skills for adults – taxes, how to talk to others, post secondary planning.
All of the bicycles that have been donated so far have been in pretty good shape, said Goncalves. So he has been able to fix up each in less than 20 minutes.
“They’ve just needed a once over and a tune up,” said Goncalves.
Goncalves is still working on the rest of the bicycles and he is hoping to get through a majority of them for the Christmas Hamper Society. However, he has also reached out to other charities to see if they would like some of the bicycles as well.
Goncalves would like to take on the project again next year if he has time around his post secondary schooling.
What he has learned most about fixing up so many bikes is – patience.