Members of Tyler community build bicycles for children in need for Christmas

Published: Dec. 11, 2021 at 4:26 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - There’s a bicycle build that’s been a 35-year tradition in Tyler around the holidays. Community members in Tyler try to get these bikes to families in time for Christmas Day.

Seaborn Nesbett is on the board of directors for Salvation Army and helps co-chair the build.

“We’re not building bicycles; we’re building memories because everyone remembers what their first bike looked like, even to the color,” he said.

Those at Pollard United Methodist Church, scouts, Rotarians, and community members understand the importance of their task of assembling the bicycles.

“It’s a fairly simple process. Each year, they get simpler and simpler because there are only about four things that you need to have, your handlebar, the front wheel, the seat, and pedals, and then you’ve got a bicycle built,” Nesbett said.

Terry Weiss, a co-chair, started restoring bikes in 1987 for kids in need. He said he is proud of their mission.

“It’s quite a joy for a child to get a bicycle. It gives them a sense of independence. They can run errands for the family, and they can make a little extra money, it’s kind of like a right of passage for a child, boy or girl,” Weiss said. “It used to be just boys almost, but now the girls, too. To have a little independence, to have a chance to expand the neighborhood if you will.”

The volunteers pull boxes of bicycle equipment, organize all the pieces on a table, and begin putting them together. David Bush, the advisor for Venturing Scout Crew 369 in Tyler, said eight of their members were able to help today.

“One of the things that scouting instills in youth and the volunteers is the commitment to community, service, and the youth. Really, it’s part of the scouting culture. It’s just what we do,” Bush said. “So since Pollard United Methodist Church is our chartered organization, this is a great fit that the crew can come help assemble bikes because it’s a project that Pollard sponsors.”

The group made it look seamless. One bike after another got rolled to the next station, all for kids in the East Texas community.

“We really feel good about this because it’s not just the people that are receiving the bicycles, it’s those that are working and getting in the community spirit that Tyler is well known for,” Weiss said.

They also partner with Andy Woods Elementary School to award bikes to students who have excelled and shown good character.

“We give two bikes, a boy and a girl, for every grade level. That’s a fun event because we get to actually see them experience the surprise of having a bicycle,” Nesbett said.

Between the volunteers, they were able to assemble almost 100 bikes for kids this year.

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