Freewheels Houston volunteers repair bikes for refugees, veterans and young people from low-income families. Our bikes provide reliable, low-cost transportation that enable self-sufficiency–a way to get to work and school and take advantage of all the opportunities available in Houston.
You can help build bikes
Volunteer sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings are an opportunity for volunteers to work in a friendly environment to increase the number of bikes we can provide. If you maintain your own bike and already know the basics, we will put you to work on a bike right away. If you are unfamiliar with bike maintenance but you want to help, our experienced volunteers will help you learn.
Bikes transform lives
When volunteers repair bikes for refugees and others, they can help transform lives for people starting new lives in Houston:
- Freewheels bikes have enabled refugees to support their families. Many rely on bikes to get to work, English-language classes and grocery stores.
- Our bikes have given veterans emerging from homelessness a way to get to jobs and medical appointments.
- Working with school staff, our bikes were rewards for middle-school students in Alief for superior attendance, improved grades and progress in other areas.
- Children received their first bikes—and the chance to explore a wider world.
In 2022, Freewheels more than doubled the number of people who received bikes compared to 2021, providing freedom of transportation for 452 people. Almost all the 280 refugees we helped in 2022 are members of families forced to flee the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan because employment with the U.S. military and other institutions meant their lives were in danger.
Responding to refugee surge
With hundreds of refugees arriving in Houston each week, word about Freewheels spread quickly in the apartment complexes in southwest Houston where many refugees settled. When one person got a bike, many more called or sent text messages, seeking a bike for transportation even before they learned English or received authorization to work.
To meet this demand, volunteers worked extra shifts to clean and repair donated bikes. We created a new volunteer assignment—bike connector—to help with distributions during Friday and Saturday workdays. Each person who gets a Freewheels bike also gets a new helmet and a lock. All bikes are equipped with lights.
Freewheels Houston volunteers’ ability to repair more bikes for refugees and others will depend on three factors: more bike donations, more volunteers participating in our workdays, and continued financial support to help us pay for tubes, tires and other bike parts and pay rent on our well-equipped workshop in the Gulfton area.