A record number of bicycles have been collected through the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with bicyclists in The Villages.
The aim of the annual program is to provide bicycles for Christmas for those who could not otherwise afford them.
Bicycles were collected and assembled Friday morning at Lake Miona Recreation Center. The effort went quickly, thanks to the record number of Villagers who volunteered to clean up and assemble the more than 500 bicycles that were donated. At least 250 of the bicycles were brand new children’s bicycles.
Dave Lawrence of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club has helped in the bicycle collection efforts for several years.
“Forty-two club members turned up for the event, the most ever,” Lawrence said with obvious pride.
Under Sheriff Pat Breeden was on hand along with Capt. Robert Siemer and several deputies who transported bikes to locations around Sumter County.
Several Villagers have have been involved in the bicycle collection for several years. Retired U.S. Army General Bob Jordan and his wife, Rose, have been working this event for more than 10 years. He also has a bike workshop set up in his garage and has repaired neighbor’s bikes as well as collecting bikes for the sheriff’s Christmas event. He and Rose have donated 50 bikes each of the last three years.
Deputies hauled more than a dozen trailers of bikes to locations around Sumter county where the Sheriff’s Office will hold Christmas parties for local families.