London couple planning to give away 500 bikes to anyone who needs one

Five people posing with a red bike in front of a banner thanking sponsors. CREDIT: BIG BIKE GIVEAWAY VIA FACEBOOK
Since its inaugural year in 2014, the couple duo of Shayne and Monica Hodgson have repaired and given away more than 3,200 bikes to Londoners who need them.

For the past 10 years, a London couple has been repairing and giving away bikes to anyone who needs them.

The Big Bike Giveaway (BBG) was started by husband and wife combo Shayne and Monica Hodgson in 2014 after noting that many people in their neighbourhood needed “a little extra help.”

“A lot of people were cycling, but their chains were falling off, they needed new brakes, all sorts of different things,” explained Monica Hodgson. “Shane was always stopping people and saying, ‘Hey, I’ll take your bike, I’ll fix her up.’ He came home one day and he was like, ‘Is there any chance that this idea would work? Let’s collect some bikes, repair them as we can, as long as we can afford it, and then give them away to people for free.’”

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Originally, the couple gave away 50 bikes from their backyard. Hodgson recalls that people were lined up down the sidewalk to pick out one of the bikes. Since that first year, the amount of bikes given away quickly increased, with the location changing from the Hodgson’s backyard to parks, community centres, and even once at Argyle Arena.

In those prior years, the couple struggled with storing the bikes, but thanks to sponsors such as Farhi Holdings, they can store the bikes in a London warehouse.

“I know it’s crazy, but the bikes for this year were completed last August,” she explained. “We never had a space that would hold 500 bikes, but now we do. So, Shayne can prepare those bikes months in advance and have them ready.”

Registration for a bike opens on June 1. Those looking for one simply fill out a form with their name, height, weight, optionally their gender, and then why they need a bike. Hodgson says that the most important part of the registration is the “why.”

“We love hearing stories in that section of the registration, that’s really important. We also need to know that somebody needs a three-wheel bike or somebody is walking an hour and a half to work. We need those stories because that sometimes is how we pull the names.”

Depending on the reason for wanting one of the bikes, certain people are reserved so they are ensured a bike. Other than that, it’s on a first come first serve basis. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the giveaways are on a smaller scale, around 50 to 60 people at a time. If chosen for a bike, recipients will be told a date and time for pick-up at a central location.

Hodgson said that these smaller giveaways allow for the two to connect with the people that are collecting their bikes, as with the larger giveaways, they had to rush through people to ensure everyone who needed a bike got one.

“Where we get our kicks is from the stories and talking to people and someone saying, ‘this is why I needed a bike.’ Those stories just make you happy. And those small little events now allow us to connect with people which we never have been able to do that before.”

Looking to the future, Hodgson wants a “storefront” of sorts, where people could donate bikes, receive bikes, and get their bikes repaired, as well as a bite to eat.

“In that facility we vision…music playing, good vibes, good energy, people just dropping in and enjoying a space, for free. We would love to hold onto that vision, but until we retire, I think we’re both still working full time jobs.”

For more information on the Big Bike Giveaway, visit their website at