Alaina Croft knows a quality bike when she sees one: Two plump tires, a pink seat and handlebar streamers.

“It’s perfect,” cooed the 6-year-old, one of 52 Des Moines children to receive a new bicycle Monday night, courtesy of Variety — The Children’s Charity of Iowa. The group awarded the bikes to local children whose families may not otherwise be able to afford such luxuries.

With a little help from her 10-year-old brother, Gabriel, Alaina was soon cruising across the parking lot of the Deer Ridge Apartment Complex, located on the city’s west side. Bikes were later distributed to kids living in northern Des Moines. Children also received new helmets and bike locks.

“Having a bike is a just a really fun part of growing up,” said Tiffany Egli, director of activities for Variety. “We want all kids to have that experience.”

Variety has distributed bikes to local children since 1988. The latest batch was purchased using some of the proceeds from a May 15 roast honoring attorney and former Iowa governor candidate Roxanne Conlin.

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