Fixin’ to ride |

Fixin’ to ride

John HartKurt Kalemba (left), Ron Kosin and Jim Stefan repair bikes on Jan. 24 at Kosin's Peardale-area home off Highway 174. The bikes will be donated to needy children.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Three area men are fixing up bikes for kids, making them rideable again, and keeping that old Schwinn out of the scrap yard.

Ron Kosin, Kurt Kalemba and Jim Stefan have fixed up and given away 120 bikes and five scooters in the last few years. Vesta Kosin, Ron’s wife, keeps track of bikes and parts on the computer.

They started fixing up the bikes after Ron Kosin, 68, who lives near Cedar Ridge, encountered some broken bicycles in 1999 at a California Highway Patrol bike safety rodeo in Camptonville.

During the event, three kids pulled up on bicycles that had no pedals or brakes and had poorly maintained steering. Kosin thought he would either fix the bikes or replace them.

Looking for help, Kosin called his son, Mike, in Paso Robles. Mike Kosin had started his own bike fix-up program several years prior and had a bunch of old, battered bicycles. He ended up giving some to his dad.

Less than a year later, Kosin dropped off a dozen bikes at a church. He doesn’t know if the three brakeless bikes were replaced with the ones he fixed up, but he has not seen them around since.

That started things off, and Kosin recruited Kalemba, 72, and Stefan, 78, who are Retired Senior Volunteer Program volunteers at the Grass Valley CHP office. The three of them fix up the bikes, giving them away when they hear someone needs one.

“We give out the bikes wherever they are needed,” Kosin said.

He and his buddies gave away 12 bikes in Washington state last month.

A helmet comes with every bike if its recipient does not have one. Kosin and other volunteers at a CHP office rounded up some money for parts and helmets.

Otherwise, they buy parts at Tour of Nevada City bike shop and Kmart and pick up frames wherever they can get them.

The frames are pretty easy to get, Kosin said. “We just pick up bikes from everybody.”

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