London, Ont., non-profit on track to hand out 500 free bikes thanks to storage space donation

Co-founders of Big Bike Giveaway, Shayne and Monica Hodgson. Provided by Big Bike Giveaway

A generous offer is exactly what a London, Ont., non-profit needed to continue supporting Londoners this year.

For the past seven years, Big Bike Giveaway has collected, repaired and handed out 2,000 free bicycles.

It hit a dead end when it lost its main bike storage unit, but a helping hand reached out and offered support.

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“(Farhi Holdings Corporation) let us know they had a facility that they would share with us,” co-founder Monica Hodgson told 980 CFPL. “It’s an indoor, heated facility in downtown London. Now, we’re able to store our hundreds of bicycles that need repair.”

Hodgson says Big Bike Giveaway’s new storage unit is 10,000 square feet and can hold up to 1,000 bikes, which is twice as many as the previous storage unit could hold.

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“We have a lot of growth room, and we’re very lucky to have this.”

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Speaking to 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady on Let’s Talk London, the founder of Farhi Holdings Corporation expressed how thankful he feels to be able to support Big Bike Giveaway.

“This is a great organization and a great cause,” said Shmuel Farhi. “We will pay the property taxes, utilities, the maintenance and we charge them no rent.

“It’s a privilege for me to help (them).”

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Big Bike Giveaway has partnered with the City of London and its EnviroDepots, and expects around 700 bikes to be donated this year.

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Hodgson says they hope to hand out 500 to 600 bikes to Londoners this year.

In pre-pandemic years, the non-profit would give out about 500 bikes each year all in one day.

Those needing a bike would come to a local park where all the bikes are displayed and take home the one that suits them best.

Read more: Annual London ‘Big Bike Giveaway’ hits 5-year mark

But due to COVID-19, registration will be required this year.

“You’ll give us a load of information about yourself including what kind of bicycle you want and why you need it. We’ll go out and look for a bike that fits you, and (we’ll) let you know as soon as we find one,” said Hodgson.

Online registration opens on June 1.

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