Tattoo artist raises funds to donate 24 new bikes to N.B. newcomers

·2 min read
Some newcomers in Fredericton received new bikes on Saturday. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
Some newcomers in Fredericton received new bikes on Saturday. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

Getting around Fredericton is going to be easier for some newcomers thanks to a donation from a local tattoo artist.

Joey Saindon of Sacred Owl Tattoo delivered 24 brand new bikes to the Multicultural Association of Fredericton Saturday afternoon.

Saindon handed out the bikes to newcomers who recently moved to the province. Many had no means of transportation.

Katherine Cerrato, 24, was jumping with excitement after receiving her new bike. She was overwhelmed by Saindon's generosity.

"I want to cry because I never imagined the Canadians trying to help," she said, holding back tears.

Cerrato moved to Fredericton from Honduras in the early stages of the pandemic last year. She said she hasn't been able to get out and explore her new home.

She's thrilled to be able to go to new places on her bike.

"I always see the people go and travel," she said. "I want to go to the forest. I want to go to the lake."

Saindon raised just over $4,000 a couple weeks ago to purchase the bikes for the association. He held a contest at his studio for a free tattoo.

"You spend your childhood on a bike really, we did as kids," he said. "Thought it would be good to get the kids out of the house — it's good for mental health."

Joey Saindon raised more than $4,000 to purchase new bikes for newcomers in Fredericton.
Joey Saindon raised more than $4,000 to purchase new bikes for newcomers in Fredericton.(Gary Moore/CBC)

Saindon is humble about the donation, but was glad he got to meet the people receiving the bikes.

"It made me happy to see who they were going to," Saindon said.

He had a heart attack about a year ago. He said the tattoo community pulled together to help him and his family at that stressful time.

"It just made me want to give back to the community more after seeing that," he said. "So that inspired me also."

Saindon also donated five bikes to the women's transition house through his fundraiser.

He had to go to multiple stores around the city to get the bikes because of a global shortage caused by the pandemic.

People receiving a new bike were given helmets, bike locks and a few safety lessons about riding a bike around the city.
People receiving a new bike were given helmets, bike locks and a few safety lessons about riding a bike around the city. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Before Saindon showed up with a pickup truck and trailer filled with bikes on Saturday, the recipients were getting a course in bicycle safety from the multicultural association.

Members also supplied helmets and locks to each person receiving a bike.

Ahmad Faisal Hussain moved to Fredericton from Syria in February. Through a translator, he expressed his happiness for Saindon's donation.

"It's a great feeling," he said, adding that he hasn't ridden a bike before and is looking forward to learning.