Wheeling kindness forward to those in need

TROY — A local business is extending a couple of wheels and handlebars to those in need this holiday season.

“This program is something that Dennis and I do because, this is our profession. We’re not attorneys or doctors or anything like that, so we can’t help them that way, but we do bikes, and we know bikes, so this is something that’s near and dear to our heart. It’s just so important,” Joyce Ferguson said.

J&D Bicycles, located at 500 N. Elm St., Troy, has been part of the local community for several years now. Joyce and Dennis Ferguson are currently in their fifth year of their Wheels of Kindness initiative, which gives gently used bikes to those in the community in need of transportation, as well as children in need of a bike. After moving their business from Wapakoneta to Troy, to be closer to the bike path, Joyce said she and her husband got on the mayor’s cycling committee and after talking to city officials, friends and customers, they noticed a need for people without cars to have a means of transportation to get to and from work.

“When we first got started with it, someone came in and talked to us about it, and they kind of named it ‘Wheels of Kindness,’ and we said, well, that’s a really good description of what we try to do,” Joyce said.

Donations toward the Wheels of Kindness initiative come from all over, be it unclaimed bikes the city has or people who have bikes that their children have grown out of or they don’t use as much anymore. Joyce and Dennis work on repairing donated bikes that are then given to those in need over the holiday season, with help from Partners in Hope, local pastors and business owners in the area, who know of someone who walks miles to and from work and is in need of transportation. Bikes that need excessive repairs are usually repurposed for additional parts, that will be used in future repairs.

“We just appreciate all the people that have donated to us. It becomes kind of like a tradition, and I think everybody gets really excited about it. It just makes us feel good, and we really appreciate Troy and we really appreciate the fact that, some of these organizations step up and help us out,” Joyce said. “I don’t think we could do it by ourselves. The donations and the organizations, we really appreciate it.”

At the moment, they’re most in need of mountain-style bikes that offer reliability year-round and can ride through a variety of terrain and weather. For kids, BMX bikes and mountain bikes are popular, but something they’re often short on with small bikes are training wheels.

“We tend to need bikes year-round. We’ve got a good supply right now, which we didn’t think we would — but we never say we won’t, it’s just as we get these (bikes) out for Christmas, once those are all placed within the next couple weeks, we’ll kind of regroup and see where we are,” Joyce said.

According to Joyce, the best part of the Wheels of Kindness initiative taking off is seeing those who have received donated bikes riding them down the bike path, and even stopping in to donate their bike back once they’ve earned enough money to buy a newer bike for themselves.

“They’re very appreciative. We see them throughout town, and going past on the bike path, and I think by all means they’ve just been very gracious and appreciative to have that opportunity to have something that gives them independence,” Joyce said.

Anyone interested in donating a bike to J&D Bicycles can do so by contacting (937) 315-2453 or janddbicycles@gmail.com.