Local News

Fayetteville's Bicycle Man Might Close Up Shop

Posted March 24, 2006 4:21 a.m. EST

— One of Fayetteville's most well-known do-gooders -- the

Bicycle Man

-- may pack it in.

A battle over his lease could mean the end of his 14-year ride to help others by taking donated bikes, cleaning them and giving them to needy kids. Cumberland County used to own his warehouse, and it leased the space to Moses Mathis.

Then, the county sold the building to a nonprofit group, Fayetteville-Cumberland County Martin Luther King Jr. Committee.

The King Committee's main purpose is to develop Fayetteville's MLK Memorial Park. It bought the warehouse as part of that project and never wanted to be in the landlord business.

Still, the committee made an exception: Mathis can stay as long as he proves he has insurance and doesn't make a profit.

That way, the King Committee is protected legally.

"Any organization today that operates in a fashion that may result in injury to another person needs to be concerned about liability," said the committee's lawyer, Ronnie Mitchell.

Mathis said he gave the committee proof. The committee says it never got it.

"I'm not going to go out smiling," Mathis said. "If they want me out of the building, they're going to have to get an eviction notice and have me evicted." If Mathis leaves, he said he won't continue his charity.