EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – In April of 2020, Bobby Francis said a neighborhood kid told him he was upset that he couldn’t afford a bike. Francis said he wanted to help, so he looked on Facebook for someone giving any bikes away.
“The first day I did it I had a trailer full of bicycles show up at my house and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Francis.
He said he kept repairing bikes and giving them away because he loved making a difference for young kids and getting them outside to play. Over a year and a half, he’s repaired an impressive number of bikes.
“1,887 bikes so far since April 2020. And probably 30 or 40 scooters. Big wheels. I lost count.”
Francis said he orders parts to repair some kids’ bikes, so he’s been selling the adult-sized bicycles to get funds. This summer, he received a letter from the Area Plan Commission that said he could no longer advertise or sell.
“Actually I told the lady that I donate the bikes and only sell the big bikes and she said I couldn’t do it. So I took my signs down and I’ve just been doing it on Marketplace.”
He says spreading the word online doesn’t bring in as many people because they may not trust the safety of an online marketplace.
“I would just like to reach out to them and say hey there is good people here. Your kids need to know there’s good people here and I’m one of them and if your kid needs a bike – if I got one I will give it to them for no charge.”
Francis said he wants everyone to know he’s still out in his lawn every day working on the bikes and to come on by if you need one.
“I just want to get people back outside and playing again just like I did when I was a kid.”
The bike guy said he’s gotten pretty fast with his repairs – getting most done in under a half an hour and even giving away nearly 30 bikes a day. He said he was recognized by a kid at a grocery store as “The Bike Guy” and that it made him happy to make a difference.
“I’m doing it just cause God told me to do it.”
We reached out to the Area Plan Commission, but have not yet heard back.