SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local automotive businesses have teamed up to help Bob “the Bike Man” Charland continue his mission of providing bicycles and helmets to families in need.
On Thursday, the Balise Auto Group announced they are working with Spartan Auto in West Springfield and Jasper Engines & Transmissions of Jasper, Indiana, to help fix “the Bike Man’s” vehicle, which is out of service due to a blown engine.
Charland was in the process of relocating his nonprofit charity, Pedal Thru Youth, to a more spacious facility at the Eastfield Mall when his truck, a Ford F-450, broke down.
The charity was founded in 2017 and is on the mission that every child in the area should have a bicycle for fun and exercise.
A volunteer of the nonprofit who also works for as a mechanic at Spartan Auto, Todd Krassler, told the shop’s owner about Charland’s broken truck and he offered to help.
The auto shop’s owner, Nick Katsoulis, is donating his facility, time, and labor to repair Charland’s truck. Jasper Engines & Transmissions of Jasper, Indiana, is splitting the cost of the engine, and Balise Ford of Wilbraham is donating a catalytic converter and other parts necessary to complete the job.
“Pedal Thru Youth does a lot of good for our community,” said Brian Rogowski, General Manager of Balise Ford of Wilbraham. “We’re happy to be able to help Bob and his team get back up and running by donating some of the parts needed for the repair.”
Krassler has also set up a GoFundMe page to further assist the nonprofit.
Once the nonprofit charity moves to its new location, “the Bike Man” and his volunteers will use that space for storage and repair of bicycles as well as a site for training disabled recipients to ride their custom-modified bikes.