About Freewheels Houston
Our goal is freedom for refugees to pursue a new life in Houston by enhancing their mobility.
Our business model is simple:
- We ask Houstonians to donate used bicycles.
- We rely on volunteers and other mission-driven mechanics to repair bikes.
- We distribute bikes to refugees who need a way to work or school.
Freewheels Houston was established in 2015 by members of Christ the King Lutheran Church and volunteers from the bicycling community. Our partners include Rice Bikes, BikeHouston, Bike Barn and the people and agencies who welcome refugees to Houston.
Rice Bikes, a student-run business on the Rice University campus, has repaired dozens of bikes for refugees. Bike Barn has provided used bikes, advice and good prices on parts and equipment. The Texas Medical Association provides helmets for each recipient through its Hard Hats for Little Heads program.
Refugees are family-oriented, resilient and ready to start a new chapter in their lives. A bike will help them find work and support their families.
More than 2,200 refugees arrived in Houston last year from camps near home countries torn apart by civil war and other desperate situations—more than any other city in the United States.
The resettlement program is designed to assist refugees as they establish lives in the United States and help them attain self-sufficiency within months of their arrival. Although Houston’s growing economy offers many opportunities for employment, transportation is an immediate challenge because refugees generally don’t own cars and rely on walking and public transportation.
About one third of refugees living in Houston are children; for many of them, a bicycle brings a measure of joy and independence. We gave bikes to three young brothers who fled violence in Honduras and made the journey to Houston on their own. We have distributed bikes to high school students who live too close to school for a bus ride but still a long walk from campus.
Resettlement agencies helping refugees in Houston–including Refugee Services of Texas, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, YMCA International Services, the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services and Catholic Charities help us identify people who need bikes.