‘The Bike Lady’ Uses Restoration Skills to Help Tuscaloosa, Alabama Community
Michelle McDaniel, known as “The Bike Lady," has acquired a useful hobby over the years, collecting old bikes to refurbish and give them to families in need.
McDaniel will take any bike, regardless of their condition.
Her origin story started in 2008, when going to a church backyard bible school, she noticed the children there did not have bikes. That was when McDaniel made a promise that turned into a hobby:
“Kids belong on bikes."
Thus, she wanted to gift the children bikes through her church. McDaniel started going to garage sales to find old bikes to fix, but soon her calling grew, with donations coming in from friends and neighbors.
Through the years, McDaniel has worked with many organizations. Now, she works parallel with Wings of Grace of Forest Lake Baptist Church to give bikes to children who do not have the resources to receive one on their own. McDaniel has worked with them for four years, and they have never turned down a bike, knowing they can find a child in need.
Many people in the community donate bikes, with over 200 being refurbished every year. Donations have increased over the past couple of weeks, with McDaniel receiving sometimes five bikes a day.
As of now, McDaniel is known as “The Bike Lady” through her community. This name was coined when children would take their bikes to her to fix and started referring to her as such.
Not only does this God-led ministry help children, but it also aids McDaniel. She claimed her work has made her a better, more caring person, while also providing a relieving activity.
Tinkering with bikes also gave relief of stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving McDaniel something to do.
McDaniel adamantly believes that this is her calling. The feeling she has when she is helping someone out is like no other. McDaniel knows a little act of kindness can change a child’s life.
“I have been blessed by this work," McDaniel said. "I love to see kids happy and brighten up when they receive a bike."
McDaniel puts a “Jesus Loves You” sticker on each bike she refurbishes. This one sticker has a lot of meaning to her, as it lets the kids know that someone cares about them and loves them. Children know that McDaniel, someone they don’t even know, cares about their happiness.
“People are blessed by getting bikes, and I am blessed by doing this,” McDaniel said.
If you would like to provide donations you can contact Michelle McDaniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.