After digesting our Thanksgiving feasts, our minds and hearts recall our favorite holiday memories. Sometimes it’s the mulled spices that get us in the holiday spirit – for others, it might be about receiving that first holiday card in the mail or showing kindness to a stranger. For me, it was about participating in the Turning Wheels for Kids’ 14th annual Big Bike Build on December 1st in San Jose at the South Hall Convention Center.

There were 2,500 bikes waiting to be built and sent on their way to families in need. The Hall was bustling with holiday music and the excited chatter of 1,000 volunteers, many of whom brought tools ranging from bike tire pumps to bike stands (some with their own cup holders!). For those of us who didn’t bring every tool known to mankind (hello, my name is Ann), others were happy to share their inventory.

Being part of this event is even more fun with friends – especially when you’re part of the San Jose Bike Party team! We had 20+ builders, including several of my friends who also happen to be awesome SVBC members – Roy Leonard (the famous pre-Bike Party “How We Ride” announcer), Lloyd Cha, Deepa Bhatt, Nancy Chuong, Ian Emmons, the dynamic duo of Tian Harter and Virginia Panlasigui, and our designated Bike Build Quality Control chief and unofficial photographer, Sheldon Hambrick.

We built bikes of varying sizes. Some had handlebar streamers and wicker baskets; others were decked out with multi-geared drivetrains. It was quite a sight to see rows of boxes turn into rows of bikes!

After a lunch break and a trike/jumping jack race, everyone in the hall made quick work of finishing the last bikes. In the end, it only took about 5 hours to build bikes that will no doubt give countless hours of joy to those who will receive them.