Without a sleigh, reindeers or snow, Santa Claus always finds a way to send children the so awaited gifts. Ciclomoși are the helping hands who are sent every year to distribute joy and gifts among blind and deaf children from Cluj-Napoca. Every winter, volunteers passionate of biking gather sweets and toys so as to give them to the disadvantaged people. Then, with their decorated bikes and fashionable Christmas costumes, they ride all over the city to remember other people that Christmas is about being happy and generous.
The story of Santa bikers begins in 2011 when Levente Kertesz together with some friends fond of biking from the Clujul Pedalează Association, organized a ride for the first time in Cluj-Napoca dressed in Christmas costumes so as to bring happiness on people’s faces and attract them into the holidays spirit.
“I thought it would be funny to be dressed in those costumes and to ride on the boulevards of Cluj. I managed to convince my wife and two or three friends and it was something remarkable to see people’s faces when they saw us for the first time.”
After this experience, they started to think of Ciclomoși Ride as a charitable campaign. So they went from door to door to the companies and also convinced simple people, and pupils from schools to donate toys fruits and sweets in order to give them as presents to the deaf and blind children from Cluj in order to offer them the chance to have brighter winter holidays.
“The message is very simple: we should always keep our souls young. So you can learn how to share without expecting anything in exchange, so having a young attitude and spirit you can ride a bike dressed in a Christmas costume without minding what people think about you”, says Levente Kertesz.
The project expanded in some other cities too. From one year to another, more and more ciclomoși, no matter their ages, have come to offer gifts to children who fight everyday with life problems.
“The growth was obvious: in 2011 we had 25 participants, 2012 – 86 participants, 2013 – 207 participants 2014 – 411 participants and 2015 – 300 participants.”
This campaign is very awaited by the children because in this way, they are shown they are appreciated and they have the chance to have happy holidays like all the other kids. Every year, the disadvantaged children organize a very impressive event in which they dance and sing Christmas carols using the mute language so as to show the Santa bikers their gratitude.
“I cannot describe the feeling I have when a blind child thanks you for paying him attention! I remember there were some moments when, together with some other volunteers, we needed to leave the concert hall for a moment because we could barely stop crying. Their happiness is the most valuable thing for me and is the reward for our efforts.”
This year the Ciclomoși Ride event was on 6th of December, when they pedalled on the city streets of Cluj-Napoca and brought presents to almost 500 children.