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Free Bikes 4 Kids Helmet

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Getting the opportunity to doodle on people’s cycling helmets has been great. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had an array of messages on social media for people offering up their helmets for me to test a few things and get properly used to sketching on different sizes and shapes. The first few, I offered for free so that I could get some practice and not feel too guilty if I made a mistake. I’ve ended up having to create a wait list because the demand is now so high I can’t keep up.

One of the many people who reached out was Kev, of Absolute MTB. He had an interesting idea and it provided a great chance for me to give back to the MTB community through a project in Wales. The Free Bikes 4 Kids project does exactly what it says on the tin – Mike takes donations in and uses them to give free bicycles to children. Kev thought it’d be a good opportunity for us to sort a helmet and raffle it off to raise money for the non-profit. I was in.

Something I’ve had on my mind for a while was a nautical theme. I actually sketched out a mudguard design several years ago that’s never been used. When I said yes, I immediately thought it would be a good time to bring the idea back to life. Of course, helmets and mudguards are totally different beasts so it needed re-sketching from the beginning but the ideas were kept alive. Bringing the whole helmet together with a single theme was a fantastic feeling and not something I’ve done before. It’s given me a fresh set of ideas for future projects.

The new acrylic paint pens I’ve purchased got their first go too. Their fine tip and water resistance properties meant that I could try to improve on the previous Sharpie iterations. And in white, too. So far, I’m really pleased with them. The current batch of helmets going out are test lids and the results will determine whether I’ll continue using the paint pen option, or whether I’ll look into something else. With the clear coat, they’ve passed my garage tests at least.

Raising just shy of £200 over a week was the main success though. Sure, I’m happy with the helmet but the point behind this one was worth so much more than just practicing my skills. Giving to a project which actively encourages more people to get out on bikes, especially children who might not otherwise get the chance, filled me with warmth. Although not everyone could have won the helmet, I’m thrilled that someone now has an original piece of art that has helped pass on the love of bikes. Whether they stick it on a shelf or go riding on the trails, I’m just pleased to have played my little part.

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