ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Colten Merritt, age 12, receives a bicycle sponsored by the Belvidere Book Club, represented by Kathy Albrecht and Nancy Houk.

By Anne Eickstadt


“Build-A-Bike is a concept where businesses and organizations sponsor and ‘build’ bicycles for youth in the community whose families could otherwise not afford to purchase one for them,” said Joe Hamblock of Manley Motors. “Our goal is to allow youth the freedom, joy, and health benefits that come along with riding to 100 children in Boone County. We partner with local elementary schools in Boone County to identify families in need for the bicycles.

“Normally, the event is a big party where the bike recipients, their families and the sponsors come together for a fun-filled evening. This year is a little different but the fun continues.

“It’s been remarkable to me, that in the middle of all this chaos,” he said. “How many people have donated and volunteered their time helping to build bikes. This community is really amazing.

“We have a ‘touchless’ delivery system where kids can leave with a bike, helmet, lock, lights, goody bags, and ice cream without getting out of their car. We are getting about 16 people an hour coming through. It’s a fun day.”

Sponsor booths are placed at intervals along the edges of the parking lot. A vehicle will register at the first booth, where an ID card is placed under their windshield. The vehicle continues around the lot, stopping at each booth to collect a helmet and goodie bag, lights and locks, cotton candy, and stops to have a photo opportunity with a sponsor of the bike being received. The bike is placed in the back of the vehicle and they move on to receive an ice cream sandwich from a police officer before heading for home.

On-site sponsors and volunteers included: BHS/BNHS Swim/Dive Team who helped set up for the day, the Belvidere Bucs mascot, Doug Proudfoot of American Family Insurance, Don Banks of Byron Bank, Maureen Koteles of McDonald’s, Midland Bank volunteers, Vack Inc., Gina Del Rose of Belvidere City Hall, the Knights of Columbus, Ross Blumenthal, YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Boone County Shopper, Blackhawk Bank, United Sanitation, Redemption Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Belvidere Book Club, and ice cream sandwiches donated by Dean Foods.


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