Allina Health is teaming up with Free Bikes 4 Kidz for the fifth year in a row. Gently used or new bikes may be dropped off Saturday, October 10, from 9AM to 1PM at the Owatonna Hospital. The first 50 to donate will receive a free FB4K shirt.

Volunteers are also needed to clean and get the bikes ready for distribution in time for the holidays. To volunteer, go to the FB4K website. Those receiving bikes also will receive free bike helmets and concussion prevention information. Last year, Allina Health and Free Bikes 4 Kidz combined to collect and distribute more than 5,000 bikes throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Remember how important a bike was when you were young? My first bike was a homemade one. My grandfather attached a trike wheel to a scooter and Santa gave it to me. This actually turned out to be an enlightening experience as I really turned the heat on my mother as to how in the world Santa could get a bike in his sack and down the chimney. She revealed the truth. I countered with a "so, this Easter Bunny stuff is..."  Aha, I'd figured out my first mystery.

My next bike was a red 24-incher with balloon tires. My folks purchased it from the Naglers for $8. Why would I remember that? I must have asked a lot of questions when I was little. I followed this bike up with a 26-incher. I'd finally arrived. I had a big bike like the other guys.

Family riding bikes together


By the way, I still have my dad's first bike. He got it used in 1937 and it stands against our barn covered with grape vines.