Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bike ministry at Grace Presbyterian reaches homeless, needy

SPRING HILL — Bob Sie­cz­kowski was traveling along Spring Hill Drive several years ago when he saw a bicycle lying along the side of the road. It had been spray-painted gold and abandoned. He decided to fix it up and donate it to someone in need.

Soon, Sieczkowski began collecting more abandoned bikes and restoring them to their original condition. He donated them to People Helping People, a multidenominational organization that serves local homeless people, so they could be given to those in need of transportation.

"After a while, People Helping People introduced me to the bike ministry at Grace Presbyterian Church," said Sieczkowski, 63. "I've been involved with them for about four years now."

It was a great match. The church had begun repairing donated bicycles to provide them to needy children and adults in 1998. Even though he belongs to a different church, Sieczkowski joined the small group of age 60-plus men who spent their Wednesday mornings repairing the bikes behind the church. Last year, Sieczkowski was put in charge of the ministry, under the oversight of church member Mel Tuck.

"We replace seats, handlebars, tires, inner tubes and cables," Sieczkowski said. "If a wheel is bent, which happens quite often, we have means of straightening the wheels out."

Most of the bikes are donated by church members. Some need chains, seats, shifters and reflectors, as well as general cleaning and lubrication. The cost for the repairs is covered by the church budget and donations from a variety of sources.

"Specific members of the church have supported the ministry throughout the years, and the church has made it a part of our mission of giving ever since its inception," said the Rev. Keith Posehn, who learned about the ministry when he became the church's pastor two years ago. "It's a fabulous ministry to folks that either can't drive or can't afford to drive who are looking for a means of transportation. I think it's one of the nicest and most effective ministries of any church I've been involved in."

The last time a tally was taken was a couple of years ago. But by then, the ministry had donated more than 1,800 bicycles to the needy.

"We donate about 50 to 60 a year, I would guess," Sieczkowski said. "Toward the end of last year, we ended up giving Jericho Road Ministries 24 or 25 bikes within a two-week span. We had a bunch of bikes in excess, and they were an outlet that could use the bikes for people in need."

The Dawn Center, Joseph's House and the American Legion have also been recipients of the refurbished bikes. Many of the children's bikes go to BayCare, a center that works with children who have behavioral problems. Church members also let the ministry know of individuals with transportation needs.

Sieczkowski said he has come to be known as "Bicycle Bob" in his neighborhood.

"I'm retired, and it gives me something to do," he said. "My wife spent her last four years in a nursing home and passed away last year just before Christmas. It helped keep my mind off of her."

Sieczkowski considers his labors to be a ministry.

"I have my own card that I made up that says 'Big Bob's Bicycle Ministry.' On it, I list the Grace Presbyterian Church," he said. "I donate my time, and they donate the funds for the parts or special tools that I need. And I teach other people how to fix bikes, as well."

>>fast facts

Garage full of bikes

The bike ministry at Grace Presbyterian Church, which operates from a garage behind the church at 8375 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill, is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays from October through May. If you have a bicycle to donate, would like to make a monetary contribution to the ministry or know someone needy who could use a bike, call (352) 683-2082. To view a video of the ministry team at work, visit


Bike ministry at Grace Presbyterian reaches homeless, needy 09/23/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 4:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  2. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  4. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  5. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]