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March 04, 2006

Richard Francis Sr. was The Bicycle Man

Since the age of 15 this man was in love with the Bicycle, and more people than ever will truly be known were the beneficiaries of his knowledge, and skill:

For nearly 80 years, he sold, repaired and fixed up bicycles, either in his Philadelphia store or, since 1976, at his backyard bike shop in Holt.

Francis, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, truly earned the nickname "The Bicycle Man."

Francis' son, Richard Jr., said his father began repairing bikes at the age of 15 and operated a bicycle shop in Philadelphia for more than 35 years.

He and his wife came to Holt at their son's urging in 1975 after they were the victims of several break-ins and robberies.

"He bought a house, and the first thing he did was build a garage in the backyard where he could repair bikes," Richard Jr. said. "He was 63 at the time and had originally thought about renting a store and opening a business but decided to retire instead."

But he never truly retired. He acquired old bikes, fixed them up and sold them for a modest price.

"If someone couldn't afford the price, he would cut it in half," Richard Jr. said.

"Sometimes he gave them away. He was doing what he loved to do, and he made literally hundreds of friends in the area."

From a story in the Lansing State Journal of 2/17/06:

Holt man who fixed bikes helped many: Holt man who fixed bikes helped many by Hugh Leach.

Technorati Tags: Bike, Bikes, Bicycle, Bicycles

March 4, 2006 in Meet The Elder Statesmen ( and Women! ) | Permalink


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