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The Villages
Thursday, January 26, 2023

Bicycle clubs and sheriff’s office collect bicycles for holiday giveaway

Villages bicycle club members pitched in to assemble and repair bicycles Friday for the annual Sumter County Sheriff’s Office bicycle collection at Lake Miona Recreation Center.

Several hundred new and used bikes were being assembled and cleaned by more than 30 volunteers. Some Villagers were picking up used bikes from the surrounding area in an event that stated at 7:30 a.m. and went into the afternoon. As some members transported bikes from Villagers’ homes, others  washed the bikes, put air in tires, test rode, adjusted, fixed and loaded new and reconditioned bikes onto trailers. In addition, this year the sheriff’s office has received substantial funding for the bicycle collection from Villages residents.

Dave Lawrence Major Pat Breeden and Lt. Robert Siemer from left show off the bicycles collected in the drive.
Dave Lawrence, Major Pat Breeden and Lt. Robert Siemer, from left, show off the bicycles collected in the drive.

Dave Lawrence of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club has helped in the bicycle collection which has aided the sheriff’s bike collection efforts for several years.

“The generosity of the people of the Villages is unbelievable,” Lawrence said.

The sheriff’s office received substantial funding for the bike collection from Villagers that the assembly operation went longer that the noon cutoff period. Seventy bikes were ordered from Walmart but had not yet arrived by the start of the Friday event. Five Villagers will meet prior to the sheriff’s Christmas program to make sure that the bicycles are setup and ready to go on time.

Villager Rose Jordan finishes up work on a childs dream bike.
Villager Rose Jordan finishes up work on a child’s dream bike.

The bicycle clubs in The Villages have been collecting bikes for the last two decades in a program which has become an annual tradition.

Major Pat Breeden was on hand along with Lt. Robert Siemer and several deputies who transported bikes to the location around Sumter County. Major Breeden praised the bicycle clubs’ efforts.

“The bike clubs have been great for our program. They have donated over 140 new bikes and refurbished hundreds of used bikes that we will distribute through out the county at Christmas events,” Breeden said.

Ben Foster and his son B.J. Foster worked as a team at their work station.
Ben Foster and his son B.J. Foster worked as a team at their station.

Volunteers were from all areas of the Villages and many brought their own tools and work stations to the event . One Villager even brought his son. B.J. Foster flew in from Germany and was recruited to help his dad, Ben Foster assemble and tune bikes. The elder Foster has been a resident of the Village of Dunedin for the past eight years.

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