Mission of 'Bicycle Man' rolls on after his death
Posted December 6, 2013
Hope Mills, N.C. — Five months after his death, Moses Mathis' legacy as the "Bicycle Man" will continue in two weeks, with the annual distribution of hundreds of bikes to Fayetteville-area children.
Mathis spent more than two decades living for the December day each year that he would open up his warehouse and let children from low-income families pick out a bike as an early Christmas present.
He died in July at age 76 after a long struggle with heart problems, but his wife of 46 years, Ann Mathis, said Friday that she plans to carry on his work.
"I will not let people forget Moses. I just won't," she said.
A few months before his death, Moses Mathis made his wife promise to continue the giveaway, she said.
"Even though he was sick, (I promised) that we were going to have bikes this year," Ann Mathis said. "I kept that promise. We have bikes this year, and we will have bikes as long as I have breath in my body."
So far this year, the charity has received 934 bikes, she said, and they expect at least 40 more before the Dec. 21 giveaway.
"People are still calling from Raleigh to donate," she said.
It had been a few years since Moses Mathis worked on the bicycles himself. Keith Melvin and Andre Mixon now volunteer their time as the ministry's elves, repairing and sprucing up bikes in time for the holiday.
Spokes, sprockets, treads and inner tubes were scattered about the Hope Mills warehouse Friday amid the rows of bikes of all sizes.
Melvin, who has worked on bike giveaways for that last three years, said he misses the "Bicycle Man," saying he was "just like another father to me."
"Mostly, I miss about him is when he (was) out here joking around and stuff, and him calling me 'Squeaky,'" he said.
Ann Mathis said she has one goal for the ministry her husband founded.
"My prayer is to make it bigger and better," she said. "Not to take anything away from Moses, he made it big. I just want to make it better.”