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The Santa Claus of Bikes


I want to tell you about a man called Jack the Bike Man. His given name is Jack Hairston and while he tells his own story on his website, I want to illustrate what Jack does.

Jack the Bike Man understands about kids and bikes. More importantly, Jack the Bike Man understands about hearts and kids and bikes. Jack the Bike Man understands the difference that can be made in the lives of children with things like bikes and compassion.

I remember my first bike.

I remember my first bike because I built it from a frame I found in a creek near my home, the chain and sprocket came from someone else’s old bike, and some wheels and tires I was able to get by cleaning shelves for the discount store downtown for several weeks. It was my very own Huffy-Schwinn-American bike.

I remember my first ride on my first bike. It was better than my first car because it represented to me, as an 11 year old boy, the ultimate freedom. For the first time I could actually get blocks from home in a relatively short period and I could feel the freedom of the wind blowing on my face. I also could decorate the bike to conform to my very own personality.

A boy’s bike defines him. It says to the world, “I am here and I am unique!”

Much to the shock of my mother, I could build daredevil ramps and launch through the air or fly along dirt paths and leap off gullies. I could be free to skin my elbows or, in one occasion, knock out a couple teeth.

But, mostly, my first bike was about responsibility. Of course, no one told me that and it is only now when I must hide that little boy in my middle-aged body that I realize this lesson. That bike taught me about paying for my own mistakes and about being responsible for my own actions – as painful as both those things can be.

Jack the Bike Man gives all this to kids – to boys and to girls. He provides them with this little piece of heaven and the memories that will provide a lifetime of lessons about responsibility and compassion.

And, Jack the Bike Man has been doing this all for years with little help. He has begged and pleaded for old bikes; for pieces and parts of bikes; and for help getting these old bikes repaired. Jack fixes them, puts them all back together and once Jack has the bikes in a safe condition, he gives them out to kids in need of some dreams and children in need of a little hope.

Jack the Bike Man is like the Santa Claus of bikes. I wish I could someday do something even as remotely important as Jack has been doing now for years.

Sadly, there are many more kids than there are bikes. I challenge everyone to donate to this worthy cause by going to Jack the Bike Man’s website; or buy a bike and drop it off to Jack at his shop located at 4401 Broadway in West Palm Beach, Florida.

I challenge you to help Jack The Bike Man make a difference in the life and future of a child.

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