The chill cast upon the Yellow Bike charity by thieves who stole bicycles destined for donation to the needy last week has been warmed by an outpouring of donations of bicycles to the program since then.
So many adult bikes came in, however, that the director of the Yellow Bike charity is saying thanks, but no thanks, to donations of anything except 20-inch or smaller bicycles this holiday season.
Dale Bishop's Yellow Bike Program and Reconditioned Bikes for Kids had numerous 20-inch boys bicycles stolen last week from his Box Elder-based charity.
Media reports of the theft prompted Cory Brown, owner of Tri-State Tire and Auto, to send 10 new child-sized bikes that he had planned to give away for sales promotions to the Yellow Bike program instead.
"We thought it would be a better use to give them to the Yellow Bike program," Brown said this week. Tri-State Tire, 1036 Cambell St., is also offering a free oil change in exchange for the donation of a new or used child's bike -- anything 20 inches or smaller -- between now and mid-December. Boys bikes are especially needed.
Brown is happy to ask his customers to help out the Yellow Bike program, something that he's been supporting for years. Tri State provides free maintenance on vehicles that Bishop uses to transport bicycles for his charity. "Dale's a longtime customer. He doesn't make any money on this," Brown said.
Bishop is grateful to get small bikes to replace the ones that were stolen, but he asks the community to hold off on any more adult bike donations until spring. "I've been inundated. People have been calling left and right — we got another 60 bikes out here," Bishop said Monday. "It's just an overwhelming support from the community, but I'm busy enough."
Bishop doesn't have storage or work space for a big backlog of bikes. He is applying for grants to build another storage building that would be used to secure the reconditioned bikes.
Any children's bikes that Tri-State donates will likely go to the 2012 Toys for Tots gift drive.
In 2011, the Rapid City Jaycees distributed 75 of the 100 children's bikes that it received for Toys for Tots from the Yellow Bike program, according to Megan Baum, assistant director of the drive. Baum expects to give away about the same number of bikes during this year's distribution, which begins at 8 a.m. on Dec. 15 at Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.