'The Bicycle Man' hopes to wheel in holiday cheer

FAYETTEVILLE Moses Mathis fixes old bikes and gives them away every Christmas, but a tough economy is making this year's effort an uphill battle.

"Everybody calls me 'The Bicycle Man,'" Moses Mathis said.

For 17 years Mathis and a crew of volunteers have turned old broken-down bicycles into priceless Christmas gifts for less fortunate kids.

At the age of 72, Mathis says it's a lot of work, but worth it.

"It's a blessing on Christmas when I give them away, when I see all the hugs and tears from kids and parents," he said. "It's just wonderful fellowship down here with the kids."

Mathis figures he's given away more than 12,000 bikes since he started in 1991. But this year the economy is taking its toll.

Mathis usually asks for $5 to help with cost, this year a lot of families can't afford even that.

"A lot of parents have called me and said, 'Look, I've lost my job, my husband has lost his job, we just can't do it,'" he said.

But Mathis says no child will be turned away.

Right now he has a little over 1,000 bikes ready to go, but he too is running short of funds to fix another 150 bikes before the December 22 give-a-way.

If you want to help Mathis visit www.thebicycleman.com

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