Bicycle man buys 'em, sells 'em, gives 'em away
The classified ad in the Lebanon newspaper read: Miscellaneous for Sale: Good-looking bicycles, all sizes and major brands, $45 and under 150+ to choose from.
A phone call from a curious Lebanon newspaper man soon led The Wilson Post into the yard of Dwight McNeese, a man with more bicycles than he can count.
"I buy 'em wherever I can, and I bought too many," he says, describing his not unpleasant predicament. "When it comes to bicycles, I got 'em.
To connect with bicycle man Dwight McNeese, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We got bikes ever sort. The place is full of 'em. Here's a Schwinn, and a Mongoose for kids. Everything under the sun," said the 69-year-old retired truck driver.
Sure enough, a guided tour through a barn, a shed and a trailer, all brimming with bicycles of every size, with tires ranging from 26 to 20 to 16 inches, featuring characters from Disney princesses to Spider-man, led McNeese to take a shot at estimating how many he had on hand.
His best guess? Three hundred.
One might ask why in the world? Well, he buys them and sells them so that he can give them away.
McNeese began harvesting bicycles, tricycles and scooters three or four years ago.
"I got a lot of them at Goodwill, especially when they're half price. I get them from here, there and everywhere."
McNeese sells his bicycles at yard sales, so that he can buy more, so that he can give some away to children whose families don't have the money to buy a bicycle. He also uses some of the funds from bike sales to purchase food and pay veterinary bills for domesticated cats that roam his rural neighborhood.
"Some people come up to a yard sale and want a bike for a son or daughter and couldn't afford a bike, and we give them one. I had one priced at $25, and a fellow came back several times to look at it and finally confessed, 'I ain't got no money.' I told him, 'Pick one out,' and he left with a bike," said the Army veteran, who served for three years with the 101st Airborne in the late 1960s.
"He's really a sweet guy. He helped me more than once," said Dee Earnhardt, a recipient of the bicycle man's kindness on several occasions. "He gave me a bicycle for my granddaughter and gave two to a friend of mine and her daughter. My friend told me, 'I love to ride bicycles.' I said, 'I know where we can get one.' He took us into a barn full of bicycles and said, 'Pick what you need and you can have them.' She like to fell over."
McNeese estimates he sold 15 to 20 bicycles over the past year and gave away about a dozen. "Come Christmas, we're hoping to give out quite a few," he said.
"I believe the Lord aims for us to share or we won't have it long. That's the way I'm led to go. Everything we got, I bought. We don't take no donations. I ain't interested in making money."
His prices on the bikes start at $45 for the big bikes and $35 for the small. The more bicycles a person purchases, the price per bike decreases, thus $200 will fetch three big bikes and three small ones.
"Pretty much people can pick out whichever bike they want, but my wife Kathy says to not let two of 'em go. One she wants for herself and one is for a young man in Lebanon.
"If you know somebody in need who needs a bicycle, that's where I want 'em to go," McNeese concluded.
As for the question about which bicycle belongs to him, he answers with a grin and a laugh, "I don't ride 'em."
Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at email@example.com.