Hundreds of kids and adults in El Dorado County and elsewhere are grateful for receiving refurbished bicycles for free. It’s all part of a bicycle restoration program.
They receive these free bikes courtesy of Mauricio Argueta, a prison inmate at the Folsom State Prison. Many more kids and adults will also obtain these refurbished bikes for free in time for Christmas.
About the Folsom State Prison Bicycle Restoration Program
The bicycle restoration program at Folsom State Prison began in the 1980s. It was set up by the Cameron Park Rotary Club in collaboration with the Folsom Moose Lodge. The main objective of the program was to provide prison inmates with something to keep busy with.
Participants also wanted to provide needy kids with free bicycles during the holiday season.
Thousands of Schoolkids and Adults Have Received Free Bikes Over the Years
The refurbished bicycle donation program was initially slated for only the Christmas holiday. But over the decades, it has become a year-round affair to ensure that disadvantaged children obtain free bikes during holidays.
Kids at elementary schools within and outside El Dorado County benefit from the program. School kids from various locations have been lucky to receive free refurbished bikes from the bicycle restoration program.
Some schools include:
- Buckeye Elementary School
- Pollock Pines Elementary School
- Camino Elementary School
- Louisiana Schnell Elementary School
Even the Union Gospel Mission in Sacramento has begun to get free bikes from the program too.
“It’s Really Hard Because It’s Just Me Doing It,” Argueta Says
Folsom inmate Mauricio Argueta invests about 60 hours every week into repairing damaged and scavenged bicycles. He has been doing this for nearly six years. It is a gruelling work but he keeps happy doing it.
He has clocked thousands of hours over the years fixing these bikes at the prison’s bike repair shop, noting:
“It’s really hard because it’s just me doing it (alone).
It’s a little tough, but I love doing this and it’s a good experience.”
The inmate has less than two years to get out of the prison. He says he will continue to repair scavenged bicycles and give to disadvantaged people after his release from prison.
Seems he plans to start his own bicycle restoration program on the outside.
“I care about these people, and I want to see if I can do this program outside.
Whatever’s in my hand, I’m going to be comfortable helping a lot of people.”