In case your car breaks down otherwise you get in an accident, the primary name is likely to be to a mechanic.
But when your bicycle breaks down and wishes restore, you’ll be able to name Leon McClung, the “Bicycle Man.” Whether or not the bike wants substitute handlebar grips, sprockets, or a contemporary coat of paint, he does all of it.
McClung is approaching his ninetieth birthday on Oct. 22 and has been fixing bicycles for a decade. He buys bicycles from yard gross sales, flea markets, and wherever else he can discover them and, as soon as repaired, he donates the bikes to kids, colleges, or charities. He is even given bikes to the Carrollton Police Division and Douglas County Sheriff’s Division.
“I’ll take them, one by one, in my basement and do all of the work that must be finished on them to make them in good driving situation,” McClung mentioned. “Some folks know what I do with them and provides me some outdated bicycles that want repairs.”
Within the late Nineteen Thirties, his father, Gilbert, put aside one acre of land and informed him and his brother, Selma, to show the land with a mule, plant it with cotton and choose it by themselves. In the event that they did this, McClung mentioned, he and his brother might purchase a bicycle with the cash they obtained from promoting the cotton.
“We did all of the work that was required,” he mentioned. “We picked one bale of cotton from the land. Dad offered the cotton and informed us we might order a brand new bicycle from Sears Roebuck for Christmas.”
That was the brothers’ first bicycle and the 2 rode it on the similar time, with Leon on the again. Selma rode on the entrance seat, and each peddled collectively. Leon mentioned he needs to offer that very same pleasure he and his brother needed to kids immediately.
In 2015, his spouse, Villa, handed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s. When she was now not in a position to assist and sit with Leon as he labored on every bicycle, he mentioned he rolled her to the basement in a wheelchair. He put her in a recliner chair to look at him work on the bicycles.
He mentioned he now retains himself busy along with his tinkering in remembrance of her. The couple was married for 65 years.
Leon does all of the work along with his fingers, from inflating the tires to altering handlebar grips and sprockets if they’ve gone unhealthy. After the repairs are made, he washes them, paints any components that want work, and cleans the tires.
Whereas he retains no file of the time or cash he spends on every bicycle, he does rely what number of he has labored on and donated. He started maintaining these data in 2012, and probably the most he has donated was 687 bicycles in 2017. This yr, he mentioned he has labored on greater than 400.
If anybody wants a bicycle, McClung mentioned they’ll choose one out without cost. He has two scrapbooks of images, thanks playing cards, and letters from folks and organizations who’ve obtained these bicycles, amongst them the Sweetwater Mission in Austell.
“The bicycles are all free,” he mentioned. “I’ve by no means charged anybody for a bicycle.”
Every bicycle will get a duplicate of an image of his fingers with a word written connected to the handlebars. The word explains why he fixes bicycles, giving the proprietor a message of hope.
“Check out these 90-year-old fingers,” the word says. “God has guided these fingers to maneuver over each a part of this bicycle to ensure it’s in the most effective wanting and dealing order as doable. I hope you cherish and care for it as a lot as I’ve loved fixing it for you.”
“Could it information you to at all times be seeking to God for steering in your life additionally. If you happen to do that, the enjoyment you knew from driving the bike will probably be a lot better by following his steering in your life.”