IOWA CITY, Iowa - If it's smiles you want, look no further than a Variety bike giveaway. Variety of Eastern Iowa hosted one Saturday morning in Iowa City, in the lower level of the Chauncey-Swan parking ramp.
"Every time we give a bike to a kid, it takes us back to when we received our first bike, and the immense amount of exhilaration and independence and freedom that bike meant," said Eric Walker with Variety of Eastern Iowa.
With a few adjustments, volunteers helped each recipient find the right seat position, and a couple Iowa City police officers reminded them to ride safely, and always wear a helmet.
"We do have a lot more bicyclists in our community than other cities in the area, and with that in mind, we want to make sure that our bicyclists are being safe," said Jorey Bailey, Iowa City Police.
Jill Abruzzio, a volunteer, helped out by making sure every helmet fit just right.
"The helmets are kind of awkward, at first they're not really used to them when they get their bikes, but they all look pretty excited," Abruzzio said. She is a bike commuter, and said it's good to see a younger generation getting into cycling.
"I know that when I was a kid, my greatest sense of liberty, especially in the summertime, was taking my bike out and riding around my neighborhood. It was really symbolic of freedom."
Variety gave away more than 600 bikes last year across eastern Iowa.