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Bikes 4 Kids: Chelsea non-profit expanding mission to make a difference through bicycles

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:17 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In a paint body shop off highway 11 in Chelsea, magic is happening.

“It feels amazing you can’t put into words the way this thing has come together so fast so big,” says Charlie Bradford. He is the founder of Bikes 4 Kids.

Bradford started the 5013c during the pandemic with the help of his childhood friend Zac Ingram. The organization takes donated bicycles and turns them into customized dreams for children in need.

Last Christmas they gave away 160 bicycles. This year they are giving away almost triple.

Bradford says it’s all because of the community support.

“My local community has been a blessing, it’s wonderful,” he says.

They work out of Zipp Painting, which is Ingram’s body shop. Over the last year Ingram secured a new larger facility with more room for the bicycle magic, including a new paint spray booth for custom color jobs where bike frames hang to dry adorned with children’s names and themes ranging from Fortnight, football favorites, princesses and flowers.

Bradford says they get information from the parents about a child’s interests and then design a bicycle they can’t get anywhere else.

It’s not just custom colors or themes, they also work to create bicycles to accommodate special needs children who might not otherwise be able to ride.

“We helped a little girl with leg braces We had to modify the bike for her,” says Bradford. “We’ve helped special needs kids as far as Tampa, Florida and Kentucky. We’ve built and customized bikes for kids that would normally not be able to ride we that can’t keep their balance well we build custom bikes for them in any size.”

Children are recommended to Bikes 4 Kids by word of mouth or through their website and social media page.

If you want to donate a bicycle, they take all types and sizes, no matter the condition.

Bradford has plans to keep expanding, and even offer a facility for children to get involved helping others. He says their new 5013c status will help them reach that goal.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more but what we can do now with government grants, corporate grants and city grants, we can really build a facility for kids to come out and be a part of what we are doing, these kids who are going through a hard time ain’t got a whole lot can come out to our facility and work on the bikes themselves and maybe build bikes for other kids and we want to try to get a BMX track there too so these kids can come out and ride these bikes as well and experience what their hands on has done for themselves.”

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