‘Bike Man’ gives away thousands of bikes to local kids

David Nugent wants to make children and their families happy.

Kids waking up and finding new bicycles under the tree on Christmas morning is as American as turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. But not every child grows up with a bicycle of his or her own.

Brookville resident David Nugent is one man with a mission to change that, not only in his own community but across the region.

“I was born and raised in Indiana but moved to Ohio when I was young,” Nugent, a 1963 graduate of the then Madison High School in Trotwood, said.

Nugent started working for Liberal Markets in north Dayton and eventually moved into management, working for Shearers Foods and for Meijer shortly after the grocery opened the store in Englewood. He moved to Lewisburg after he married and eventually to Brookville.

“I worked a lot of hours at Meijer but then my wife got sick,” Nugent said. “I needed to be closer to home so I started working for McMacken’s here in Brookville.”

Nugent said he first became interested in helping children when he and his wife, Rosemary, opened a store in Lewisburg.

“I really started paying attention to the kids that would come in,” Nugent said. “I had one wall full of nothing but nickel, dime and penny candy jars and sold pop for a quarter.”

Nugent’s wife was diabetic and had a condition that caused blindness, which was inherited by their three children, Michelle, Carmen and David. Rosemary passed away in 2009 and Nugent revived a hobby he had as a small boy – fixing up broken and abandoned bicycles.

“When I was a kid, I used to get bikes out of the trash and fix them because my family couldn’t afford to buy new ones,” Nugent said.

And the more he took apart the bikes, the more he learned about repairing them. He started working on smaller bikes but eventually moved on to bikes of all sizes.

“I was attending a church at the time and the minister noticed that I was working on bikes,” Nugent said. “He told me he knew exactly what I should do with them.”

That minister, Joshua Grimes, took Nugent’s bicycles to the church and gave them away to families who came into the food pantry. But eventually, that church changed affiliations and Nugent’s bikes again began to pile up, filling up the back yard of his home.

“I decided to invite people to come to my house,” Nugent said. “I really love watching the little kids get excited when they get a new bike!”

Nugent’s inventory now features bikes of all sizes, including adult size because he noticed bigger kids needed bikes. Eventually he rented a storage unit to house his bikes and bought a house outside of Brookville that had three storage sheds on the property.

And now, Nugent’s hobby has grown into an enterprise that attracts people from other cities and states. He always keeps about 75 to 100 bicycles, tricycles, BMX style racing bikes and even Big Wheels in his yard at a time, stacking them along his fence and on the back patio. He has created a Facebook page to help reach more people about the bikes, which remain free to anyone who asks for one.

“I do limit the bikes to two for adults so grandparents can come and get them for their grandchildren,” Nugent said. “But I allow the kids who come in person to take any bike they want.”

After what Nugent thought would be his final bike giveaway of 2022 in November, he realized he would have enough to do one more this month — beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at his home at 142 June Place, Brookville. He wrote a poem about the bikes, donned a Santa hat and red sweatshirt and created a video about the bikes that he has posted on his Facebook page.

“I have asked people to bring toys for the children if they want to donate,” Nugent said. “I never ask for cash donations, but people donate sometimes.”

Nugent admits that his out-of-pocket costs to repair bicycles keep going up and though he shops around for the best deals, he still ends up spending a significant amount of his own money to repair the bikes, so they are ready for the children to ride.

“This year I did giveaways every month starting in March, except for October,” Nugent said. “I get really caught up in this and as far as I know, everyone in Brookville has a bike now.”

In fact, Nugent’s favorite thing is to watch the local children riding their bikes along the local bike path and going to get ice cream in the summertime.

“It’s amazing that so many kids out there don’t have much of anything,” Nugent said. “And bikes aren’t very affordable anymore. I just enjoy doing this. And it makes the kids happy.”

Find out more on David Nugent’s Facebook page.

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