Bicycle Man’s Wife, Ann Mathis, And Volunteers Keep Program Rolling

22 Jun

My father known as The Bicycle Man locally,  fell ill earlier this year and my mother had to pick up the reins. This is their story.

 Story Photo

By Catherine Pritchard
Staff writer

In a warehouse near Hope Mills, work is under way on donated bicycles that will be given to needy children come Christmas.

But it’s without the supervision of Moses Mathis, the man who founded and led the giveaway for more than two decades.

Illness and poor health, including congestive heart failure, diabetes and pulmonary disease, have plagued the 76-year-old Bicycle Man since late last year. He has been confined for months in medical facilities as he tries to recover his strength.

“Right now, the medical part is stable but he’s still weak and he can’t get out of the bed and walk,” said Ann Mathis, his wife of nearly 46 years. “They’re trying to get him strong enough to do that.”

But the charity he built is still powering forward. Donated bikes are being repaired by longtime workers in a warehouse, which was made available to the operation last year. The giveaway in December is still on track. And Ann Mathis, who has been an integral part of the charity but was in the background, is overseeing things more directly.

“I’m doing the bicycle stuff,” she said.

She also is overseeing her husband’s care, now at Woodlands Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center on Pelt Drive. Ann Mathis, who’s 67, said she spends most of her days there, sitting with her husband.

“He knows when I’m not there and he’s looking for me,” she said.

Sometimes, she said, the Bicycle Man asks her how things are going with preparations for the annual giveaway. Other times, he doesn’t. Ann Mathis said her husband’s illnesses, including a mini-stroke, and long confinement in bed have taken a toll on his short-term memory and quieted his usual chattiness. She said she’s been told these are temporary issues that should improve as his health does.

Ann Mathis said she doesn’t know when her husband may be strong enough to come home.

“I’m not worried about that right now,” she said. “We just take it one day at a time.”

When the Bicycle Man’s health problems became public in March, Ann Mathis said people from around the state sent them a deluge of well wishes – and some donated money to help with his medical bills.

“People just don’t know how much I appreciated it,” she said. “They just do not know.”

The bills continue to mount but Ann Mathis said she can’t worry about that.

Her main concerns are Moses, and the needy children who will be looking for bicycles come Christmas. The Bicycle Man and his elves typically give away hundreds of bicycles each Christmas.

“We need bicycles,” Ann Mathis said. “But we need small bicycles, 20 inches and down, for little kids on up to seventh- and eighth-graders. If we can get the small bikes that would be great.”

She said she hopes her husband will one day be able to take the helm of the beloved program that he founded. But in the meantime, the Bicycle Lady is steering the handlebars.

“Everybody calls me ‘Miz Moses,’ ” she said with a laugh. “I tell everybody I have a name and it’s ‘Ann.’ ”

THE BICYCLE MAN

Bicycle donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Bicycle Man’s warehouse at 1800 Wynfare Drive off John Smith Road near Hope Mills. The mailing address is Tiffany Pines Community Center, 624 Platinum St., Fayetteville, NC 28311, and the number is 424-3083.

Cards can be sent to Mathis in care of Woodlands Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center, 400 Pelt Drive, Room 504, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

Staff writer Catherine Pritchard can be reached at pritchardc@fayobserver.com or 486-3517.
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22 Responses to “Bicycle Man’s Wife, Ann Mathis, And Volunteers Keep Program Rolling”

  1. mary burrell June 22, 2013 at 6:46 PM #

    This is a touching story. God bless them.

  2. mary burrell June 22, 2013 at 7:39 PM #

    Jesus, forgive me I was kind of groggy when I started reading this. Are these your parents I will send a card to your dad. I will send a card. I will remember you and your family in my prayers.

    • hunglikejesus June 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

      Yes Ms. mary thems my parents. They would appreciate a card from you, thank you.

  3. mary burrell June 22, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

    I would love to do that. God bless them. They have a wonderful son.

    • hunglikejesus June 22, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

      I’m sure they would disagree with the wonderful son. I’ll just say it’s been a long life so far.

  4. TrojanPam June 22, 2013 at 10:08 PM #

    @ hunglikejesus

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I was confused at first if these were your parents. I’ll put a card in the mail

  5. diaryofanegress June 24, 2013 at 8:08 AM #

    Beautiful Story, Jesus!

    • hunglikejesus June 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM #

      Thank you, but I’ll have to wait and see what the ending’ll be like:

  6. Amarie June 26, 2013 at 3:24 AM #

    That’s a great story and I’ll keep your family in my prayers. I pray that your father makes a full recovery.

  7. No Black Pete July 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM #

    Now that I read the articles on your Father, I had to reread the article on your Mother. To take a minute and understand the pain of a fellow blogger. You put it at such a distance that outsiders can keep it there. But, clearly, it is on your mind and staying there. I wish your Father well. Just in case my wish is not powerful enough, I wish you strength.

    • hunglikejesus July 1, 2013 at 6:12 PM #

      Again, thank you.

      I know the order is a bit discombobulated to a new reader/viewer, but I chose to let it stay that way because to change it, methinks would cause more confusion. So please forgive me and as usual; I will try and do better. And thank you for your strength.

      • No Black Pete July 1, 2013 at 6:54 PM #

        The order is not an issue. I could re-member it just fine. Still, to try and do better is as it should be. Hmmm. What makes me think of Scrabble all of a sudden…

        • hunglikejesus July 1, 2013 at 7:10 PM #

          Scrabble: even the thought gives me the chills. If it wasn’t for spell check and grammar corrections software (which I sometimes ignore as you can probably tell), I would stay away from any kind of writing utensil and keyboard. The rest has been noted and the execution has already been gone.

          And I want to go ahead and thank you for blog, you have enlightened me.

          • No Black Pete July 1, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

            LOL. I will not mention the S-word again. Oh man, I LOVE my pen and paper. I do not LOVE much, but without pen and paper, I might as well… I do not even know. Anyway, spell check is part of the writing game, yet I still skip it at times. Which reminds me that it is about high time to proof-read last year’s posts. Sigh. Not today though. I do not work on Keti Koti. Enough from me. I am a tired ol’ lady. Sort of. Thanks for the props.

            • hunglikejesus July 1, 2013 at 8:40 PM #

              Okay, then this will be for tomorrow and it’s almost pass my bedtime as well.

              I do use pen and paper when I start a rough draft, that is the best. It makes one feel more at with whatever ever one is writing.

              You’ll have to tell me about your city sometime. I love hearing about lands not close by.

  8. No Black Pete July 2, 2013 at 7:54 AM #

    Let me know what you want to hear. Prepare a list. And I will prepare a post on it.

    • hunglikejesus July 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM #

      Thank you.

      I must say that it’s not really a list of things that I want to know, but I want to know the feel you have in your place. If that’s makes any sense. Like what is your day to day life like? What is the walk to the store like and what does your store smell like? When the sun comes through the window in the morning what’s your first thought? Things along those line. Not the tourist stuff, but the people that live there stuff and I’ll try and do the same, if your interested of course. I hope that was plain enough.

      • No Black Pete July 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM #

        Sure, that list makes sense. It is about sense and senses. I will skip my own day to day life for now, because it is a struggle for several reasons. But, being in this brick jungle in Holland, definitely has a different feel than anywhere else. Different from other cities, other European countries, and definitely different fromt the States. I will chew on it a bit and contemplate a post, and you can respond in kind from your view of life. Just remind me at the end of Summer if it has not been posted yet. Peace.

        • hunglikejesus July 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM #

          Very good then, we can make that our together project. I think that would a good idea for all bloggers. We can all exchange our “day in the life of” blog posting. We may get something started.

          • No Black Pete July 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM #

            Well, let me see what I will come up with first. Before we start singing Kumbaya. (I would be the one singing out of tune anyway.) Peace.

            • hunglikejesus July 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM #

              Yeah………….no. There’ll be no singing, just learning and trying to understand people and their lots in life.

              Thank you.

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