By Janel Sullivan, contributing writer
Fifteen years ago Tracy Doyle saw an opportunity to help local children in need. After learning about local people who were down on their luck and had children who were not expecting anything for Christmas, he decided to do something to help. “We don’t do it for anything other than we can help people who don’t have much,” Doyle said.
Every year since he has fixed up old bicycles and donated them to kids in need. Last year, people donated around 150 bikes, and this year Doyle already has that many in storage ready to go. Doyle hopes for many more donations to make this the biggest year yet. His goal is to donate between 250 and 300 bikes.
If you are interested in donating a bike to the cause, all you have to do is bring it by Doyle’s shop on West 1st Street in Fulton. Doyle, along with Justin Burridge and Joe Arnold, is fixing all the bikes and fitting them with new cables, tires, and tubes when needed. They encourage people to bring in their bikes in all states of disrepair. “Some of the bikes are in ill repair,” said Doyle. “But we strip them and use parts on another one. It might take two bikes to get one going.” They also accept donations of children’s big wheels and ride-around toys.
Once the bikes are ready to go they’re put into storage until the giveaway event. Doyle is extremely thankful to those who have helped store the bikes. A local church comes by once a week to pick up finished donations, and John White from Gypsum Express donated a tractor trailer Doyle has been storing bikes in all summer. White will also have drivers available to transport bikes on the day of the giveaway event. Carla Gardner form Parkside Mini Storage has also donated storage space.
Donations will be accepted right up until the week of the event, which will take place on December 15th at Fred Raynor Ford in Fulton. Even if you can’t get a bike to the shop for this year, Doyle accepts donations year-round and your old bike will be greatly appreciated for next year.
Doyle encourages people to contact any local church or the Salvation Army if they know of a child in need who doesn’t have a bike, saying; “They’re the ones who find the homes for these.” He enjoys going to the giveaway to watch the reactions of the kids he ’s helping. “It ’s quite fun to watch their faces light up. It ’s pretty rewarding in itself and that’s what makes it worthwhile in the end.”
VIDEO: Tracy Doyle explains his giveaway: