Getting Results Award: Charity keeps homeless on road with free bike repair

Russ Durham turned love of bicycles into a much-needed charity

ORLANDO, Fla. – Russ Durham is this week's Getting Results Award winner. Durham and his 7th Day ReCYCLEry have been repairing bicycles for the homeless for 8 years and they do it for free.

The group visits the Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando every three months. From dawn to dusk Durham and his team of mechanics repair hundreds of bicycles in various states of disrepair.

An air compressor and sounds of ratchets and spinning gears can be heard from a block away. Dozens of men women and children wait patiently for their turn to have their bike placed on one of the three repair stands. 

For many who show up, a bike is their only form of transportation.

"If something goes wrong, they're up a creek," Durham says. "A homeless person can't always afford an expensive repair. In fact rarely can they afford a bike shop repair." 

Kenneth McCaluon was in line early. He's proud to show off the white Schwinn just given to him by a local church.

"I just need this back brake done," he says, confident that he'll be on the road soon. "Russ, he's out to help people. He goes out of his way. Whatever you need, he's got it." 

Durham says he's been working on bikes since he was a kid and this is his way of using his skills to help others.

"We know how to fix bikes, so this is what we do," he says.

Durham says donations keep his charity going. He gladly accepts any bike or bike parts. Anything worth using is saved. But he says costs do add up. Many items such as tubes, tires, brake shoes and cables need to be purchased new. He spent over $12,000 last year alone. Part of that was also spent on lights and locks. Every bike leaves with both.

"We want them to be safe, we want them to be seen at night.

Durham says people have come to rely on his quarterly visits. He's not sure what many would do without him.   

"I do it because they need it," he says. "A homeless person, once their bike goes down, they're in trouble."

If you would like to donate, you can contact 7th Day ReCYCLEry on Facebook.

About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.