Man fixes bicycles to give to needy


December 23, 1992|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Thanks to Hampstead resident Bryan Chaney, more than 200 children in Howard and Baltimore counties will receive bicycles for Christmas.

Since mid-November, the 30-year-old bicycle repairman has collected a total of about 600 bikes. In that short time, he was able to repair 200 of them, and this week donated them to charities and social service agencies in Howard and Baltimore counties and in Baltimore city.

The surplus bikes will be given as is to the Baltimore city and county Salvation Army and St. Jerome's Catholic Church.

Mr. Chaney said he has not planned to donate bikes to Carroll County families because he does most of his business in Howard County.

Mr. Chaney, who operates a mobile repair shop called BikeMOBILE in Ellicott City, said he wanted to help poor children during Christmas and got the idea while attending a bicycle trade show in Philadelphia in September.

"It's the thought of all these kids that have resigned themselves to not asking for bikes," Mr. Chaney said, that prompted him into action.

He said he knew the venture would be successful because many customers have asked him to haul away their old, unused bikes.

"I knew there were bikes out there," said Mr. Chaney, who thought he would receive about 100 bikes.

He got more than he expected. Mr. Chaney received about 50 bikes when he talked a local newspaper into publishing a free ad asking for donations of discarded bikes. Then, a television station did a story on Mr. Chaney and he received another 250 bikes.

"People want to do something good," said Mr. Chaney, who received bikes from as far away Washington, D.C., and Hanover, Pa. "We got some bikes that still have the owners' tags on them."

At first he became worried that he wouldn't have enough room to store all of the bikes. But that stumbling block was overcome when the Columbia Management Association gave him two empty storefronts in the Harper's Choice and Hickory Ridge village centers to repair and store the bikes.

About 10 volunteers helped Mr. Chaney fix the bikes, which he classifies in categories of A, B and C -- "A" bikes need only cleaning, "C" bikes need heavy repair work.

Mr. Chaney figures he and his volunteers spent four to five hours a day in recent weeks repairing the bikes, which include children's bikes, 10- or 12-speed touring bikes and mountain bikes.

Columbia Management Association and bike suppliers have donated various parts, such as handgrips, fenders, and brake parts.

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