Extraordinary People

Free bike repair service gifted to struggling families by local man

Robbie Pruitt wanted to help after his own bicycle got nicked

When something bad happens to us, the instinct can be to get mad or even get even.

Yet for one man, he decided to get productive.

And after Robbie Pruitt’s mountain bike was stolen, he became incentivised to help others.

As he reflected on who may have taken it, he began thinking that someone desperate may have needed it for transport to work during the pandemic, so he kickstarted a free bicycle repair service.

[Credit: Robbie Pruitt]

Not only did Robbie set out to help people who couldn’t afford repairs or upgrade their bikes for new ones, he also accepted donations to gift wheels to people who had nothing in the first place.

It seems Robbie’s idea has transformed him into quite the entrepreneur, for as soon as he scouted for interest on Facebook he was inundated with offers by eager cyclists.

Speaking about his project, Robbie – a rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Leesburg, Virginia – said he was overwhelmed by the response and plans to continue long after lockdown ends.

[Credit: Robbie Pruitt]

Robbie said: “When the neighbourhood kids saw me working on my brakes on my Diamondback BMX, I asked them it they wanted to learn how to fix brakes, and they did.

“They reminded me of my days in Haiti, and the mountain biking ministry at the Church of the Epiphany in Herndon and it got me back into this.”

He added: “One of my favourite verses of the Bible is Revelations 21:5, it says, ‘Behold, I make all things new,’ and I feel like I’m a part of making something old, new again.”

[Credit: Robbie Pruitt]

Together with the help of local young people who lend a hand after their virtual school day, the dream team have fixed over 140 bikes so far.

One of the teens, Mythri Madireddy, said it was “gratifying” to learn a new skill that she could go on to use forever.

We could do with a lesson or two ourselves!

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