Osoyoos man spends hours every day fixing donated bikes to give to anyone in need

Gifting dozens of bicycles

One Osoyoos resident has already repaired and gifted away more than 70 bicycles to people in need since early November, and with 50 more hanging around in his garage, he says he won't be stopping anytime soon.

Bryan Miles was given a handful of vintage bikes by a close friend after helping clean out his home and wondered what to do with them.

"One day, I was just sitting out on the front steps, and I saw five kids go by, four of them were on bikes and one was running behind them with a backpack on and I thought, 'Why?'"

"I mean, well, maybe his bike was broken, possibly, or maybe his family couldn't afford it," Miles said, answering his own question.

With time off from work due to illness, Miles decided he could use this opportunity to do some good.

So he put a call out into the community by posting in a local Facebook group, offering rebuilt bikes to anyone who may have kids in need of a set of wheels, along with asking for donations from anyone who may have older bikes sitting around that could be repurposed.

"I will take the bikes and I will make them almost next to brand new. I'll paint them if I need to and then if I need to put on new tires, brakes, gears, handlebars, everything so that it looks like it came right off the shelf."

He was offering to help repair bikes too, knowing some may be struggling financially to get that done this year.

"There's just an influx of a need. And I've talked to the local bike shops in town too, just to make sure that they know that I'm not trying to take away from their business, and they're very supportive. They've helped me out with parts and stuff like that," Miles added.

"So everything is done purely by donation, I don't sell anything. I don't deal with any stolen products at all."

His offer got some incredible attention on social media.

"I didn't expect it to be like this, I thought maybe I might help a few people over Christmas. The next thing I know I've just exploded, like there has to be probably over 2000 comments on Facebook, at least," Miles said.

"I'm proud of myself for doing what I'm doing. But I really want to emphasize that it's the community coming together to make that happen. I might be doing the grunt work of fixing things up. But it's everybody else's heart that's actually giving."

Dozens more bikes started to come in, and so did the requests, especially with the holiday season ahead.

"Another big thing too was with Christmas, when you go back to school right after Christmas break, and everyone wants to talk about what they got from Santa or whatever a person believes in, or what they got for Christmas kind of thing, right?"

That conversation can be tough for kids with families in tight financials.

"My heart was really in the beginning so that person could go back to school and say 'You know what, I got a new bike.'"

Some repairs take twenty minutes, while others can take a few hours.

Miles said that the funny thing was he didn't necessarily have a huge passion for bikes, or even training in bike repairs, he was just a guy who was handy with tools and wanted to find a way to give back.

"It keeps me in a place of integrity too, because I struggled in the past with different things in my life and a lot of people have helped me over the years. It's a way of giving back. Some days, I don't want to work on the bikes. But I've made a commitment.

"Then I have to think about when that person comes to pick up that bike, the smile that's going to be on that little boy's or that little girl's face, or a youth's or even an adult, knowing that somebody has done something nice for them."

The bike shops in town have also helped out when a repair gets challenging.

"It's kind of been self-taught and then humbling myself and going to the bike shop and asking somebody, 'This is what I'm doing, Could you show me how to do this, right?' And rather than trying to be proud, and figure I know everything, because, we all need help in certain ways," he said.

"I'm getting to the point now where I'm getting over that hump, where now I'm starting to understand the mechanics of the bike. But in the beginning, it was not like that."

Miles said he's been touched by the relationships he's built within the community, and he wants people to know they can come forward and tell him if they want a bike – whatever their financial situation may be.

"I always kind of affirm people that there's no shame in receiving. We're all in different places. I may be in a better season right now. But, next year, I might be in a not-so-great season, where I might need a little bit of help. It's about a community coming together in a big, big way."

When people reach out, Miles said he works with them to find a bike that will be best from what he has available.

Miles hopes that what others will take away from this is the smallest action of kindness can make a big difference.

"I just encourage people, the simplest smile can change a person's life. You don't know what somebody's going through. Or a Hello, as you're walking down the street," he said.

Miles will be continuing to repair bikes, even as he heads back to work in the near future, making sure he dedicates time to it on his days off. He will continue posting updates and fielding requests through the Osoyoos Connect Facebook page.

He's even taking it one step further, connecting with a hospital program and the Indigenous communities.

"That's really what my passion is about. It's not so much about the bikes as much as it's time to show people love."

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