GEAUGA, Ohio — The Masons of Village Lodge #274 in Geauga are used to quietly working in the background of their community, but now they need the community’s help in distributing dozens of bikes they have repaired and refurbished for the holiday season.
“One of the brothers in our lodge he was visiting a trash dump, for his job, he was dropping off some stuff up in Lake County and he saw all these bicycles just sitting there, unused,” said David Mooter, the head officer of the Village Lodge. “He thought they looked like they were in pretty good shape and maybe we could salvage some of these and give them away.”
The bikes that were beyond repair were taken to a recycling center, but many of the bikes they found needed just a few repairs – even just a little air in the tires – to be good as new.
“That’s how we stage them up, then we attack them individually, go through them and make a rideable bicycle for a needy child or whoever may receive it,” said Village Lodge member Dale Spangenberg.
With so many bikes to work with, even the ones that were beyond repair were able to be stripped for parts and used to repair others.
“Sometimes the ones in more of a damaged state, you can find parts from another bike,” Mooter said. “So maybe one bike is beyond repair but it has a good wheel or its got a good seat. You can swap those out and put them on another bike. Between those you end up with a whole bike.”
Mooter said the lodge has given some of the repaired bikes to the local chapter of the Shriners, who already work with children in hospitals, but they can only take so many.
“We’ve been looking at some churches, if they see a family in need that could use a bicycle, they will reach out to us,” Mooter said.
The lodge is asking anyone who sees this story who works with any kind of organization, church, or social organization where they work with kids and families in need to contact them to coordinate distributing some of their repaired bicycles.
“I think, folks — if you are struggling, and certainly there have been families struggling in recent years, having something like this, especially if you are a little kid, it feels good,” Mooter said. “I’ve had family members myself who grew up in difficult times, struggles, and part of this again, was Christmas — this is not coincidental. We are hoping to get these out for Christmas so that children can have a good holiday and get something nice under the Christmas tree.”
It's a project that aims to not only clean up the community by reducing what goes into the landfill but also delight children most in need at a time when they most need it.
Les Sherman said the second life for these bikes is so great, “because they aren’t in the dump. They aren’t being scrapped, thrown away. And the plan is that they will be utilized by some children. They will be smiling their kabooskies off riding down the road.”