Freewheels Houston gives people freedom by giving them mobility.
Our business model is simple:
- We ask Houstonians to donate used bicycles.
- We rely on volunteers to repair bikes.
- We distribute bikes to people who need a way to work, school or other destinations including refugees, veterans emerging from homelessness and young people from low-income families.
The mission of Freewheels Houston is to provide safe, reliable bicycles to refugees, veterans emerging from homelessness and young people from low-income families. Freewheels bicycles provide everyday transportation that enables people from underserved communities to get to work and school and stay healthy and connected.
We have strong partnerships across the community to achieve our mission.
Freewheels was launched to help refugees resettling in Houston and we continue to work with the Alliance, Catholic Charities, Church World Service, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston and YMCA International Services to distribute bikes to their clients.
We support the Houston community’s goal of ending veteran homelessness through our work with USVETS, the Veterans Administration, Salvation Army, Combined Arms and Warriors’ Refuge in West Columbia.
Freewheels Houston has ongoing program to deliver bikes to 5th- and 6th-graders at Klentzman, Owens and Mata Intermediate Schools in Alief Independent School District. Working with Communities in Schools and school staff, our bikes have been used to reward perfect attendance and improvement in academic and social areas.
We rely on many institutions in Houston for support—funding, volunteers and prayers:
- Faith communities including Christ the King Lutheran Church, Congregation Emanu El, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church and Salem Lutheran Church,
- Foundations including the Baxter Trust and the Scott Wizig Family Foundation and the Arnold Foundation.
- BikeHouston has been a close partner for many years, raising awareness of our program throughout the city.
- Houston’s bike shops—including Trek Bikes, REI and student-run Rice Bikes—have been sources of bikes, parts and safety equipment that help make bikes more reliable and safer to ride.
- In 2018, in partnership with PAIR Houston–the Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees–we provided bikes to 65 middle-school-aged refugees during a day camp at Jane Long Academy in the Gulfton area of southwest Houston. PAIR is a nonprofit operating after-school programs for refugees at six Houston schools.
Volunteers drive the Freewheels mission
Our volunteers come from many parts of the Houston community, brought together because they enjoy working on bikes and providing transportation alternatives to people starting a new chapter of their lives in Houston. In 2022, 162 people volunteered at Freewheels.
Our volunteers come from all over the city and many walks of life. We appreciate the support of Volunteer Houston, a program of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston. Volunteer Houston’s platform helps connect volunteers with opportunities at Freewheels and many other nonprofit organizations.
Houston’s corporate sector plays an important role in encouraging service projects. Freewheels has worked with employees and retirees from Dow Chemical, Marine Well Containment Company, AIG, Shell Oil Company, Chevron, Microsoft and other Houston-based and global firms.
Freewheels Houston was established in 2015 by members of Christ the King Lutheran Church and volunteers from the bicycling community. We became a Texas nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status in 2019.