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'Bicycle woman' committed to carrying on husband's holiday tradition

Posted December 4, 2015

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— Moses Mathis died more than two years ago, but the tradition of the "Bicycle Man" giving away refurbished bikes to Fayetteville children for Christmas lives on because of his wife.

Mathis started the holiday giveaways 25 years ago, and the labor of love has grown into a year-long effort that includes scores of volunteers.

"It's a great feeling to know that some kid is going to be enlightened on Christmas, just the fact he got a bicycle and knowing he would have never gotten one otherwise," volunteer Robert Starke said.

Many of the bikes are donated by individuals, while others come in from department stores and other retailers. Each is taken apart, repaired and reassembled so they are ready to put a big smile on a little face.

The smiles are what motivated Mathis for years and are what continue to drive his widow, Ann Mathis.

"I did not quite understand what he was talking about, but for the last three years, I really understand what he's talking about," Mathis said. "Just to see these kids come in here without the parents and to see them choose their bikes."

Mathis, who has adopted the "Bicycle Woman" moniker, plans to give away 1,000 bikes at the Dec. 19 event.

"What she's doing is fulfilling their dream," volunteer Roy Turner said. "They dream to have a bike, and she is doing what they want."

Mathis said the smiles are only part of her motivation, however. She continues the tradition as a tribute to the man she loved.

"During this time of year, it's real hard, because he would have been out here now riding on his scooter" overseeing the repairs and preparing for the giveaway, she said. "He would have been doing this, and I miss him."


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