Can you remember your first bike? The terror and excitement of removing the training wheels and riding (maybe unsuccessfully) down the street? Those two—or three—wheels provide children with a new sense of freedom and independence: they can go as far as their legs will take them. Many at-risk and foster children don’t get to experience the excitement of receiving their first bike; but through her volunteer work at onbikes, Shelby Hughes (Kimley-Horn Tampa) is making it happen.
Founded in 2011, onbikes began as a group of friends who organized a community bike ride fundraiser; the profits provided at-risk and foster children with their very first bikes during the holiday season. The community’s support for this idea was instant, and the organization has been rolling ever since.
Shelby—a member of the Kimley-Horn Water/Wastewater team in Tampa, Florida—has been largely involved in the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts since 2014, her favorite of which is the Winter Wonder Ride. Now an official parade, the event consists of more than 4,000 snowmen, elves, and various other holiday-costumed bikers hit the pavement.
onbikes doesn’t just organize events and raise money to purchase children’s bikes—they build them, too! Led by Executive Director Julius Tobin, the organization works alongside local bike shops to assemble thousands of bikes for at-risk and foster kids. “Our trained bike technicians help teach and guide volunteers as we turn screws, pump tires, and make these kids’ dreams come true,” says Julius.
Funds donated by the Kimley-Horn Foundation help onbikes purchase and build more bikes for more kids, allowing the firm to make a direct impact on the Tampa community. The onbikes philosophy, “giving is better than receiving,” strikes a chord with our Core Values here at Kimley-Horn—“It’s everything about sharing and caring,” says Shelby. Over 2,000 children have received bikes since 2011.
To learn more about onbikes, visit www.onbikes.org.