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Volunteers to Build 2,400 Bikes for Low-Income Kids 15th Annual Holiday “Big Bike Build” hosted by TurningWheels For Kids (TWFK)


Highlights  ​ 

  • A thousand volunteers to build 2,400 bicycles in one day.
  • Bikes bring children independence, confidence, a fun way to exercise, and a sense of adventure that nothing else quite matches. 
  • Bikes are the #1 requested holiday gift and many low-income families simply cannot afford one.  
  • One of the coolest gifts a child can receive is proving to have a profound impact on a child’s life, health and confidence.  

Santa Clara County, CA. A thousand volunteers will grab wrenches, put bike frames up on metal stands, and build 2,400 bicycles, the #1 requested holiday gift for low-income children. The event will be held Saturday, November 23rd in the South Hall of the San Jose Convention Center.  Best hours for visuals will be 10 am to 12 noon. 

DPR Construction has donated $30,000 to fund the event.  Susan Runsvold, founder of TurningWheels For Kids, also acknowledges FRG cardboard recyclers, KKW trucking, food vendors, sound system installers and Mayor Sam Liccardo/ Team San Jose for their in-kind donations.

With 1,000 volunteers, the fun begins at 9 a.m.  Teams come from law enforcement and fire departments, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, corporations, and schools. Many participants have come year after year and Runsvold has been told the Big Bike Build has become their holiday kickoff event. Throughout the day 40 local charities, including schools, will pick up bikes for distribution in their holiday giving campaigns or for use in student behavior modification initiatives.

In a recent survey done at local junior high school, students were asked, “Why do you want a bike?” Runsvold was amazed at the candor of the students: 

  • “My parents won’t let me have one because we are poor. It would make my whole world if I got one. Christmas is coming up and my parents can't even give me presents because we are poor, so if I get a bike it will be the best, and the only Christmas present I've ever got.
  • “Because bikes are epic and always wanted one but never got one because my mom said they are too expensive.  And been wanting one for years.”

TurningWheels for Kids has distributed 43,000 bikes to children over the past 15 years and has raised $4.5 million. Susan Runsvold, a retired nurse at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, set out to make sure that no child would experience a Christmas without a cool and exciting gift. The first year, Susan bought 12 brand-new bikes and gave them to children working with the San Jose Fire Department. Then, in 2005, Susan asked an amazing group of friends and coworkers —many now on the TurningWheels for Kids board—to help flesh out her dream. With a resounding “Yes!” TurningWheels For Kids was born.

And as with all good ideas, the mission has grown and TWFK has been a year-round program for over a decade.  Currently, TWFK is embarking on a new chapter with local police officers and low-income schools.  Recognizing how valuable and healthy bikes are to kids, both the officers and teachers are using bikes as incentives. 

Come and enjoy the day, eat some lunch and help us spread the word.

  • 9 a.m. bike building begins
  • 10:30 a.m. Sam Liccardo thanks volunteers for 15 years of service
  • 11 a.m. adult-trike race
  • 12 p.m. lunch; BEST dessert cookies imaginable 
  • 1 p.m. back in-force to finish building remaining bikes
  • 10 -4 Charity pick-ups in the back of the South Hall


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Media Contact: Joy Alexiou (408) 595-2936; Amanda Bond (408) 784-2037.


Posted: November 22, 2019.

Last updated: 11/22/2019 8:41 AM