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Bicycles are built to help people

By Staff | Dec 28, 2015

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Jim Shaffer of Hughesville enjoys fixing up old bicycles, and giving them away like new to those who really need one. He has been doing this hobby for the past 30 years.

HUGHESVILLE – A new bicycle can be costly these days, often unaffordable for many. For the past 30 years, Jim Shaffer, formerly of Williamsport, and now a resident in Hughesville since his retirement from PPL, has been enjoying taking apart old bicycles and restoring them to “brand new-like condition”.

After that he makes sure they go to someone or an organization who could really use them. For example, his bikes are often seen in front of the Salvation Army in Pennsdale. “They go real quick from there,” he replied. “They’re affordably priced; they make a bit and people get a break.” Jim also donates his restored bicycles to senior centers, churches and children. He gives them to Toys 4 Tots every year, the Thrift Store in Turbotville, and the “Hands-Up” in Milton.

Recently a retired Air Force veteran got one who needed it for transportation. Another connection for Shaffer is his ties with the ministries in the local prisons. “Having these bikes helps them get a job when they get out,” Shaffer responded. “Often kids need bikes, sometimes their bike gets stolen,” he further explained. “There are a lot of reasons someone needs a bike.”

One day a couple from Germany had two bikes purchased from there and rode them wall the time when they came to live here in the United States. They had them practically all their life according to Shaffer. As they reached close to the age of 80, they had to give them up, and so they came to Shaffer and asked him to find a good home for their bicycles. “They rode them together for many years. They were well built bikes, and wanted them to go to someone who could enjoy and need them,” explained Shaffer.

He averages about 55 to 70 a year according to his wife, Barbara, although Jim said he doesn’t keep track. “He will find a bike if someone really wants one,” she said. He has been doing this since 1975. He can get old parts, fixes flat tires, restores old frames and those parts that can’t be repaired go to Pete Crawford who will recycle them according to Jim.

An avid bicyclist himself, along with Barbara and their two daughters, they like to share the sport with others, especially those who ride for the first time. “Locally I ride my bike all the time,” said Jim. Every evening in the summer the couple like to ride. One of the places he likes to ride to frequently is to the hatchery at Muncy Creek to feed the fish. “When it’s my turn, I ride my bike,” said Jim who is a member of the Consolidated Sportsmen of Muncy Creek.

Shaffer said that anyone who has a bicycle they are no longer using and would like to donate it, can drop it off anytime in front of their home on the corner of Broadway Street and Fourth Street in Hughesville. Just look for the bikes!