Retiree masters the art of giving back with bicycle repair ministry

Ken Hunt has restored hundreds of bikes, donating them to local charities

Ken Hunt has restored hundreds of bikes, donating them to local charities

Port Orange, Fla. – Behind the lawn art and tree line of his Port Orange home, you’ll find this week’s Getting Results Award winner.

Out in the driveway, Ken Hunt can be found spinning wrenches, oiling chains and replacing tire tubes. Repairing bikes has become his second obsession — his first would have to be the repurposed metal artwork scattered throughout his property.

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Hunt, a retired engineering technician and industrial arts teacher, began welding metal objects about 20 years ago.

“I just look at something and I see possibility,” Hunt said. “People will challenge me to make something from things they bring me.”

Birds make from rakes, giant bugs made from fire extinguishers and huge flowers created from lawn mower blades poke out from behind the landscaping.

“It’s a conversation piece,” Hunt said. “The neighbors like to stop by.”

Lately, those neighbors have also begun bringing him broken, rusted bicycles.

Hunt has made a name for himself restoring old bikes that others no longer want. He then donates them to those who need them.

“It’s a challenge sometimes to figure out how to fix them,” Hunt said, “Because there are so many differences between them.”

It all started when Hunt’s own bike was stolen after he left it outside of the library in Daytona Beach.

“Somebody walked up with a pair of bolt cutters 11 o’clock in the morning, cut the cable and decided they needed it more than I did,” Hunt said with a laugh. “So I bought a couple of bikes to replace that one. Old junkers, fixed them up and it turned into a little thing, into a hobby, and now I don’t know what to call it. Apparently it’s an obsession now.”

About 250 bikes later, Hunt has a garage full of spare parts and has become known in the area as the Bike Guy.

“That’s where it started but I don’t know where it’s going to end,” he said, his hands working their way around a rim to remove a worn tire.

Hunt has donated bikes to nearby churches, The Palmetto House low-income housing in Daytona Beach, First Step Homeless Shelter, Halifax Urban Ministries and Barracks of Hope. He’s even repaired bikes for neighbors.

“I try to give them to someone who needs them and can’t afford it,” he said.

But Hunt says he rarely gets to meet the people who receive his repaired bikes. “Once in a while I get to meet a kid and when I do, I try to get the kid to write a thank you note, handwritten, and I give that to the person who donated the bike.”

He says it just feels good to give back. “People helped me when I was younger, neighbors,” he remembered.

Hunt was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by his neighbor, Kay Taylor.

“Ken has single-handedly supplied hundreds of spiffed-up bicycles,” Taylor wrote in her nomination. “He’s the most unassuming person and he’ll warm you instantly with his genuine southern charm.”

“I’m not looking for notoriety,” Hunt said when we visited his home. “The bikes and the yard art, it’s just fun stuff. It just makes people laugh.”

Hunt says he’d like to slow down a bit and is looking for someone to help or even take over his bike ministry. If you’re in the Port Orange area and you think you can help, Ken asks that you contact The Hub Cycling Bike Shop in Port Orange, at 3661 Clyde Morris Blvd. The phone number is (386)-456-3938.

Ken partners with The Hub Cycling and mechanics at the shop also donate their time to repair old bikes that customers drop off.

If you have an old bike to donate, they will also help get it to Ken for repair and eventual donation to a local nonprofit.

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.