For more than two decades, Bob and Ruth Holliday have taken bicycles in — cleaned, repaired and polished them — and sent them on to the Marine Corps' annual Toys for Tots program.
This year is no exception.
"When we opened our east shop 21 years ago, we said, 'Wichita has been good to us; why don't we help Wichita as well?' " said Ruth Holliday, co-owner of the Bicycle Pedaler on Rock Road, just south of Central.
In years past, they have taken in as many as 500 bicycles. About 225 have been donated so far this year, Holliday said.
The Hollidays, their staff and volunteers have repaired thousands of bicycles since launching the project in 1988. What matters is that the bicycles are repairable, not junk bikes covered in rust.
It doesn't matter if the bicycles are for boys or girls. The store will take any color, size and number of speeds, although smaller bikes are preferred.
"It's all about giving back to the community," Ruth Holliday said. "It's like the movie where you 'pay it forward.' My folks were Mennonite missionaries, and it is ingrained in me. But it was my husband's idea, and we do this for the satisfaction."
The shop will work until the last possible moment before distribution begins on Dec. 10. Bicycle donations typically pick up as the holiday season progresses.
"We typically don't start working on the bikes until after Halloween, and that way we don't get overwhelmed," Holliday said.