Other than some elbow grease, the only place in Harrisburg to receive a bike for free is Recycle Bicycle.
The two-wheel loving philanthropist now needs support from someone in the community.
Ross Willard was described as the “Bike Dude” in The Burg earlier this year. You may have noticed the high-energy bearded guy with a rear-view mirror attached to his glasses around Harrisburg or offering free tune-ups at festivals and fairs.
Willard has operated his bike charity out of a warehouse on Elder Street for the past five years, but the owner has sold the building and Willard must find a new home by Sept. 5.
“I need a roof,” Willard said. “We don’t charge, so we’re the best deal in town.”
The Bike Dude has been fixing bicycles ever since he saw a car nearly strike a young child with faulty bike brakes. Willard also uses his warehouse shop to allow anyone to build a bike for free, other than what he calls “sweat equity.”
He teaches how to build and repair a bike because his philosophy is you care more about what your build with your own two hands. Also, you learn a skill that could last a lifetime and help others along the way.
Willard uses that same philosophy for convicts who are trying to rehabilitate their lives, but faces obstacles like transportation or community service hours. The Bike Dude fixes those problems without judgment.
His plea is to have someone offer him space where he can set up Recycle Bicycle somewhere in the city to be close to the people and children who rely on his passion, skill, and heart.
“We need a place to fix kids bikes for free,” he said, “and we need to be in the city because that’s where the need is the most.”
To get in touch with Ross Willard, call 717-571-2008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.