These volunteers are putting kids displaced by fires back on bikes — and you can help

Soon after wildfires burned through Lahaina and Upcountry Maui, Aaron “Moose” Reichert, the owner of Krank Cycles, received messages from popular bike brands
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 3:54 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Soon after the wildfires burned through Lahaina and Upcountry Maui, Aaron “Moose” Reichert, the owner of Krank Cycles, received messages from Schwinn and Mongoose Bicycles.

The top manufacturers offered to donate bikes to Maui families who had lost everything.

“They approached us and said, ‘Anything you need?’ I said, ‘Send me bikes!’” Reichert said.

They sent 400 of them. Last week, the container loaded with the new bicycles arrived on Maui, after Reichert raised the money to pay for the shipping. And soon the bikes will be in the hands of families whose lives were turned upside down by the devastation.

“We feel that’s the drive, is to get kids back on bikes first. And whatever else adults we can do, we will do secondary,” Reichert said.

Another drive is being spearheaded by Hawaii Bicycling League and Maui Bicycling League to collect and distribute donations of used bicycles that are in good working condition.

“There’s certainly a transportation need. A lot of individuals lost their vehicles in these fires,” HBL executive director Travis Counsell said.

“We would take that donation. We’re working with several bike shops both on Oahu and our other neighbor island partners to get those bikes into the hands of people that could really use them.”

HBL has a list of bike shops on its website that are helping its bicycles for Maui drive.

And Krank Cycles website has information on how people can help with its ongoing efforts.

Reichert is known on Maui for Krank Cycles annual Christmas giveaways of bicycles to families that can’t afford them, and for community events where his team refurbishes bicycles for free.

“Through the word of that and our other connections, like with Kona Bicycles, they’re sending us bikes also. It’s going to be well over 220 bikes coming for that,” he said.

Krank Cycles needs volunteers to help put together the 400 bicycles Schwinn and Mongoose sent. Assembly day is set for Saturday, Sept. 23 at 9 a.m. at the West Maui Construction warehouse in Maalaea.

“We’ll have technicians coming out and safety checking each one of these to make sure they’re very safe for the participants receiving them,” Reichert said.

He’s hoping for a big turnout of helpers. Bring your tools and a tent for shade if you have them, but even if you don’t, please come and lend a hand.

“We just want to make sure we can just hammer this because the faster we get these bikes done, the faster they get in the hands of these kids, and it’s just going to bring joy. It’s going to bring a lot of joy in this pretty dark time,” Reichert said.