Thanks to widow, legacy of 'Bicycle Man' lives on in Fayetteville
Posted December 13, 2017 6:19 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:55 a.m. EDT
Fayetteville, N.C. — The legacy of the "Bicycle Man" lives on another year in Fayetteville, thanks to the wife of Moses Mathis.
Ann Mathis has worked in the background of her late husband’s bicycle giveaway operation for 27 years. Moses Mathis died in July 2013, but Ann has continued the tradition.
"Right now we probably have 1,200 (bikes)," she said. "We got some coming in. We're close to it."
Moses Mathis spent years collecting bicycles from the community and then fixing them up to distribute at Christmas to children whose families could not afford them.
Ann Mathis said the neat thing is that each kid gets to pick out their own bike.
"The parents do not come in here to pick bikes," she said. "Moses would turn over in his grave if I had the parents come in here and pick a bike. That's the truth."
Keith Melvin has been turning old bikes into new for the past six years.
"It's kind of hard making some of the old ones look back new, but we get it done out here," he said. "All we have to do is just go out here in the back and find different parts."
After the children pick their bike, they also get a bag of goodies. Over the years, the team has given out 17,000 gift bags.
"For every bike that they give to the kids, we give a gift bag," said Ada Johnson, a volunteer. "We give hats, coat, shoes, socks. Every child gets something educational in the bag."
Mathis said she now understands her husband’s passion for doing this.
"If that child chooses the bike, that's the bike that child loves," Ann Mathis said. "They walk out, they ride out, of here with a smile on their face that you would just not believe."
The bike giveaway starts Saturday at 9 a.m.
For more information, visit the bicycle man outreach website.