Pruitt, an assistant rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Leesburg, Virginia, posted on a non-public Loudoun County Fb web page that he would repair anybody’s bike without spending a dime. Within the put up, he additionally stated that he was accepting undesirable bikes, that he would repair and donate to individuals in want.
He ended with: “I hope and pray that this bike meets the wants of the one who took it.”
That day, he acquired about 30 bicycles at his dwelling. After its subsequent put up, some 500 individuals expressed curiosity in donating bikes or having them mounted by Pruitt.
He set a purpose of repairing 100 bikes by the top of 2020. He surpassed that, repairing greater than 140 bikes, donating about 60 % of them, and returning the remaining to their house owners. He provides bikes to anybody who asks for them, however tries to assist kids and households who’re struggling. Many of the requests go to Fb.
However maybe most significantly, alongside the way in which, he has taught greater than a dozen youth in Loudoun County how you can restore their very own bikes and the bikes of others.
“You are actually offering a service, however it’s not the bikes,” stated Pruitt, who has three kids: Grace, 7, Hannah, four, and Simeon, 1. “It is the relationships locally. It is the influence you’ll be able to have on individuals. “
Pruitt’s curiosity in serving to individuals with their bikes throughout the pandemic began a few months earlier than his was stolen.
One night time in July, after coming back from a mountain bike experience in Reston, Pruitt was renovating the disc brake on his crimson Diamondback bike in entrance of his dwelling when a gaggle of 4 neighborhood children pulled up on their very own bikes. Pruitt requested in the event that they needed to learn to restore components of a bicycle. Pruitt additionally famous that their bikes had been in poor situation and a few had flat tires. That night time, he mounted them.
It was the start of a friendship and a neighborhood undertaking.
“All the children within the neighborhood spend much more time doing one thing sensible,” stated Danny Offei, a Pruitt neighbor. “Virtually everybody within the neighborhood has a bicycle now, and he helped experience these bikes.”
One current afternoon, Pruitt had a crimson Huffy mountain bike in his fingers and known as six younger males enjoying soccer behind his home.
“Okay guys,” he informed them. “Somebody do that bike.”
Pruitt handed the reconditioned bike to 12-year-old Santi Palomino, whose eyes lit up as he grabbed the brand new black grips that Pruitt had added to the handlebar. “Woah,” he yelled, and his associates gathered round, additionally eager to see how Pruitt had improved Santi’s bike.
“I will sleep higher at night time simply because I did this,” Pruitt stated.
Pruitt grew up together with his mom and two brothers in Columbia, South Carolina, the place he stated he had at all times been fascinated about constructing and repairing.
His favourite Christmas reward got here when he was 11, he stated, when his mom gave him a Redline BMX bike. After that, Pruitt stated he searched trash cans for discarded bikes to learn to restore them with salvaged supplies.
In 2004, whereas working for Epiphany Episcopal Church in Herndon, Pruitt started repairing and donating bicycles as a part of a church undertaking. He remembers the enjoyment when a co-worker provided him his Rockhopper bike without spending a dime. Pruitt stated he needed others to expertise that feeling.
Pruitt and a few members of his church moved in 2011 to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the place Pruitt organized bicycles for college students at a Christian faculty the place he was a Bible instructor. He additionally shipped bicycle supplies from the US and constructed about 15 bikes. He created a shed for them and made them out there to academics or college students after they needed to take a stroll. When Pruitt returned to the US in 2016, he left the bikes for others to take pleasure in.
Pruitt and his spouse, Irene, moved to Alexandria in 2016. He rode his bike typically, however discovered no alternative to restore another person’s bikes. That modified in July after his household moved to Ashburn and noticed the situation of a number of the neighborhood’s kids’s bikes.
Now, many nights, Pruitt is on-line, shopping for provides like seats, brake levers, handlebars, coaching wheels, gear levers, pedals and brakes. He estimates that he has spent practically $ 1,500 on components. Pruitt stated that repairing every bike takes about 30 minutes, relying on what you want. Attempt to restore each to make it like new.
“The sensation you get when somebody drives off with a motorcycle that they did not have … it’s extremely rewarding,” Pruitt stated.
Impressed by his personal childhood, Pruitt goes out of his means to assist single moms. One who had just lately moved from Washington State wanted a birthday current for her son. She texted Pruitt, and the subsequent day he handed her a yellow bicycle, she stated, that was the scale of her son.
On one other event, he stated, a lady requested Pruitt so as to add assist wheels to a bicycle for her daughter, who was bodily disabled. Pruitt stated it did not add coaching wheels as a result of it was an grownup bike, however it nonetheless rearranged the components to make it usable. Pruitt stated he peeked within the rearview mirror as he drove away to see the mom and daughter using and smiling collectively.
Pruitt’s favourite a part of his bike undertaking is making associates. He stated that after fixing the bikes, the house owners typically cease by their yard simply to talk. Some individuals will carry you meals, together with a Greek household who left rooster souvlakia on Christmas Eve.
When the pandemic passes, Pruitt plans to show his program into an exercise at his church. However for now, Pruitt is comfortable to assist anybody who requests it on their very own. That features Santi, the 12-year-old who just lately acquired a refurbished Pruitt bike.
“It has impacted everybody locally,” Santi stated earlier than he and three associates began biking to Washington and the Outdated Dominion Path. It was an hour earlier than sundown, however they deliberate to remain outdoors on their bikes till the final drop of daylight.