Bike shop owner wheels, deals for needy children

December 06, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Bryan Chaney is a Santa Claus on wheels this holiday season.

The operator of a bicycle shop based in Ellicott City, Mr. Chaney is working to get bikes to needy Howard County children for Christmas.

For the last three weeks, Mr. Chaney has collected about 500 used bicycles from area residents, and repaired and cleaned them. He plans to donate them to the Salvation Army and Grassroots, two organizations that help the poor.

Yesterday was the last day for the project, called Bikes For Kids.

"This is just a little something I can do to give something back to the community," said Mr. Chaney, a 30-year-old Hampstead resident.

"People don't want to throw their bikes away," he said. "But they'll give them away to somebody who needs them. I just put the two things together. . . . And the kids will love it."

Mr. Chaney said he got the idea for the project from his business travels. He runs the Bikemobile, a bike shop that operates out of a 14-foot van and makes house calls for repairs and sales. His business serves Howard, Baltimore County and part of Baltimore.

Many customers have asked him what they can do with their old bikes, which they have outgrown or simply don't use any more, Mr. Chaney said.

He and his band of volunteers set up a temporary Santa's workshop at the Harper's Choice Village Center -- with help from Columbia Management Inc. -- as drop-off point for the project.

The entrepreneur also sold $2 raffle tickets to give away a mountain bike. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army of Howard County.

People who need the free bikes may call the Salvation Army at 465-0588 or Grassroots at 531-6006. Bicycles not distributed in Howard will be passed on to the Salvation Army in Baltimore.

Mr. Chaney spread the word about the project through a newspaper advertisement and a television news story.

During the last three Saturdays, people from as far away as Washington and Pennsylvania have brought unwanted bicycles to Mr. Chaney and his volunteers.

His helpers include his wife, Nancy, and his parents, Dallas and Donna Chaney of York, Pa.

"We've been getting everything," said Bryan Chaney, who worked in industrial sales before entering the bike business. "We've been getting tricycles to mountain bikes and everything in between."

The collection includes lots of BMX-style bikes, some racing bikes, a few scooters and one red Schwinn Hornet that dates back to the 1950s.

Some people also donated spare bicycle parts, such as wheel rims, seats and training wheels.

Many of the bikes are ready for the road -- one yellow 10-speed Schwinn came with tags still attached. Some bikes are cleaned, air is put in their tires and their chains are oiled at the Harper's Choice shop. Bikes that need major repairs go to a warehouse, where Mr. Chaney and his helpers will work to get them ready for Christmas.

After dropping off old bicycles, some people picked up brochures on new ones.

People who donated bicycles on Saturday welcomed Mr. Chaney's efforts.

"We couldn't use the bikes any more, but we knew somebody could," said Frank Winter, a Rosedale resident who delivered five bicycles.

"We live on the other side of Baltimore County, but it was worth the trip."

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