Giving spirit of ‘Bob’s Bikes’ thrives for the holidays, after difficult year

Local News

“Christmastime is always my busiest,” says the man behind ‘ Bob’s Bikes for Needy Kids’. He’s sitting in his workshop, wearing a red hat, but don’t be fooled. This man isn’t Santa Claus. This man is Robert Crane.

“I started the day after school started,” recalled Crane. “This garage was completely empty.”

Now two weeks before Christmas, dozens of bikes fill his garage. “Thanks to the good people I got it done,” Crane said — referring to community members who have stepped up helped the man who has helped hundreds of others for years. 

Months ago, Crane and his family were forced to move out of their home. Crane thought he’d have to shut down Bob’s Bikes. But after seeing the story on 8 News Now, that all changed. Crane found a new home, and the miracle of Bob’s Bikes continues to grow as he went from one busy season — back to school — to now another — the holidays.

For five years, Crane has run ‘Bob’s Bikes for Needy Kids,’ taking in donated bikes and fixing them up for families in need, like the Harlan family.

“I’ll take that one!” said 9-year-old Shawn Harlan as he picked out a brand new green bike.

“You like the green one, huh?” remarked Crane to Harlan. “You’re my type of guy, I love green too.”

“It was so cool because when I looked over there I saw this bike,” recalled Harlan. “I’m really happy and grateful that I got a bike and I always wanted a bike.”

Shawn is one of five boys. Life hasn’t been easy for the Harlan family after their father passed away.

“It’s hard because you feel bad you’re not able to give them the gifts that you want,” shared Melissa Harlan,  Shawn’s mother. “I know he’s been wanting it so bad and he’s such a good boy. Now he can ride his bike to school and not have to walk.”

The simple green bike, now a Christmas blessing.

“It’s not just a bike sometimes,” expressed Crane. All he has on his Christmas list is one thing… and it’s not even about him. “All I ask for every Christmas, all I want is for every bike to be gone.”

Because after all,  Robert Crane already has the best gift of all. 

“A child walks in, I give them a bike and he gives me a hug, everything’s done,” said Crane. “It’s worth every minute I put into it. I have nothing against Santa Claus, but I get more hugs and kisses than I think he ever does,” he continued with a smile.

Crane still has dozens of bikes to give out to families in need just in time for Christmas. Any donations of bikes or parts (new and old) would be appreciated because once the holidays are over, Crane will be starting all over once again. For more information on receiving a bike or donating, you can contact Robert Crane directly on the ‘Bob’s Bikes for Needy Kids’ Facebook page.

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