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120 bicycles go to kids as for Christmas By VINCE REMBULAT
bike giveaway
One of the recipients tries on a bike for size.

Christmas once again came early at the Paulsen Ranch.

By that, the third annual Bike for Kids program Saturday provided free wheels for children of needy families.

“This year’s bike distribution went smoothly outside a few hiccups,” said Pete Paulsen of Paulsen’s Motorsports of the free giveaway event at his French Camp property.

All told, he managed to provide 120 bikes – one per family – to area youngsters. These were the same fix-me-up bikes in need of a little TLC. Paulsen along with his staff and a few volunteers managed to just that, spending countless of hours just for this special holiday event featuring Mike Wright back in his role as Santa on a Harley.

Wet weather made it tough for Wright to be on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. His wife, Connie, also helped out, serving up homemade cookies and candy canes.

“We learned a lot from last year’s (free bike giveaway),” said Paulsen, who used runners and communication devices while ushering in 10 vehicles at a time on to his property in order to prevent a backlog of traffic along West Bowman Road.

Each bike recipient received a ticket in order to save a place in line. The distribution of numbers on a first come, first serve basis also helped prevent any large gatherings as a safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those in attendance did their part by wearing face masks – Santa had his face shield on – and practicing social distancing.

Paulsen started his non-profit Bikes For Kids with help from local businessman Vince Haro, who provided a large batch of bikes to the cause back in 2018 to go to youngsters at Haven of Peace, the emergency shelter for women and their children.

Paulsen is planning to once again take a few bikes to Haven of Peace in French Camp later this week.