Man's bicycle giveaway helps those in need

- Billy Bradford of Castro Valley turned his love of bicycles into a way to help others. His garage resembles a bike shop. He calls it his "happy place."

There's a collection of bikes, but most of them he doesn't keep. He gives them away to people who need one.

"I love the art work on these old vintage bikes. I just love collecting them," says Bradford who calls his undertaking Bad Business Model Bikes because he gives away all his bikes for free.

By day, Bradford works as an IT manager for a San Francisco law firm. At night, he rebuilds bikes in his garage.

"I fall in love with every bike-- even a cheap kids bike. I sort of fall in love with it. It's a beautiful thing and then I let go," says Bradford.

He started giving them away to friends...then to friends of friends. Now, it's grown to people he doesn't know...connected by social media.

"I feel like I'm the recipient. I get to work on bikes. I get to collect bikes. I get to give them away. I get to be Santa Claus all the time," says the 61-year-old.
 
Bradford says he's received donations of money and bicycles from friends and strangers to help him with his giveaway.

Donated bicycles fill his yards on both sides of his home.
 
"People can sell stuff and they don't. They bring it over here and let me restore it and make someone happy. It's how it should be. If you have something and if you can help somebody else, do it," says Bradford.
 
He estimates he's restored and given away about 200 bikes in just under two years.

Bradford gave a pair of bikes to a homeless couple recently. He found them through the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward. Bradford painted the bikes to match.

"Talking about being blessed," says Ken Woodmansee and his fiancee Deb Jerro chimes in," That was a blessing."

"Yeah, that was a blessing. Just broke down in tears. I just couldn't believe it," says Woodmansee who tells KTVU he and his fiancee have been homeless for about a year and a half. They recently had their own bikes stolen. They say it's been difficult getting to their medical appointments.

"I understand that it's good for them but it's feeding me. It's good for me. I feel like I'm the benefactor," says Bradford.

He says in this time of change for our country, his hobby offers him hope.
 
"Always a bike to work on. Always puts me back in my happy place. Work on a bike, give it away.
It's like a little happy zone right here in the garage. I need that. I truly need that," says Bradford.
 
He says he never expected his undertaking to grow so large. But he says it's the best gift he's ever given himself.
 
Here's more information on how to contact Bradford 

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