• How to Join the Bike Drive

    If you have it in your heart this winter to help motivate area kids to get outdoors this spring and summer, there is now a way that you can help this very worthwhile cause with the purchase of any bicycle or helmet.

    “We’d like to collect 100 new bikes and helmets to give away to children in need and get them off their computers,” said Mario Innocenzi, owner of Mario’s Barber Shops in Middlefield and Parma, who is also a Geauga Park District board commissioner. “We have these big, beautiful parks – it’s time to get the kids out using them!”

    Geauga Park District offers trails for biking at six of its properties, including more than 20 miles stretching along The Maple Highlands Trail. Claridon Woodlands features a single mountain bike track and pump track, and Big Creek Park opened its first mountain bike trail last summer. For more information, visit www.geaugaparkdistrict.org/activity/biking.

    Anyone who wishes to donate a bicycle and helmet to this effort need only purchase the items new from any store and drop them off before Monday, April 5, at any of the following locations: Mario’s Barber Shop at 7526 Broadview Road in Parma, Mario’s Barber Shop at 14895 N State Avenue in Middlefield, or Great Lakes Outdoor Supply at 14855 N State Avenue in Middlefield.

    Innocenzi said he hopes to give donated bikes and helmets away during an event along The Maple Highlands Trail this spring in collaboration with the Village of Middlefield Recreation Department and Geauga Park District recreation staff. Donors will receive a Mario’s Barber Shop pin as a thank-you gift, as well as acknowledgement to those families receiving the bikes upon distribution.

    “Finding ways for young people to enjoy more time spent outdoors is part of our mission,” said Geauga Park District Executive Director John Oros. “Receiving a free bike and helmet, with some encouragement to get out and ride the trails, will not only enhance their capacity to enjoy the outdoors for the rest of their lives, but will also increase their physical fitness and invest them in caring for these natural areas as adults.”

    To apply for a free bike for your child or children, Innocenzi can be reached at mariosbarbershop33@gmail.com or 216-520-1977.