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Scott Bristow, Santa Rosa Fire Department engineer with station 3, fixes up a bike at station 5 as part of the Fire Department's Toy's for Kids program. (Crista Jeremiason / PD, 2010)

By BOB NORBERG

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The “Bike Elves” have started their Christmas drive, collecting used children’s bicycles to repair and give away through the annual Santa Rosa Firefighters’ Toys for Tots program.

Firefighters Scott Bristow and Brian Staby are the self-professed elves, both avid cyclists and amateur racers who use their mechanical skills to clean and repair the bicycles for kids.

Last year they were able to provide 50 bicycles, the most sought-after toys in the program. This year they are looking for more donations and recruiting others with mechanical skills to do even more. Bristow allows that 100 would be nice.

So far, Community Bikes in Santa Rosa has donated 20 bikes and may have another dozen to give to the program, Bristow said.

Community Bikes and the Bike Peddler have also been good about helping them out with helping them out with parts.

The firefighters this year are also looking to the community for help.

“If people want to help, they can donate bicycles to any Santa Rosa fire station, or money,” Bristow said. “We also are accepting toys in new condition. Bikes are the only toys that we accept in used condition.”

The bikes need to be in serviceable condition; otherwise it takes too long to get them rideable and in acceptable condition. That excludes donating junkers that have been left out in the rain, Bristow said.

The firefighters union usually provides a $1,000 budget, but hard times has likely reduced that, Bristow said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.

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