New life for bikes
Eighty two year old Bunyip resident Les Abrehart who lives at the Hillview Independent Living Units complex has been restoring bicycles for the past five years and donating them to the Bunyip and Garfield Community Shops for sale.
The bikes have been sold at ffordable prices with all of the money going back into the local communities.
Les took an interest in repairing bikes about 25 years ago when his grandson, Dale Wilkinson, a student at Berwick Secondary College was part of a HPV (Human Powered Vehicles) student team.
The team won the State Secondary School Championship competition in building a HPV
Once it became known that Les was restoring bikes for charity he has never been short of bikes needing repair.
He often has locals drop bikes off for him to “fix up”. Occasionally his eye will spy a “gem” on a front lawn before a hard waste collection.
He has so many old bikes and bike parts that there is no room to store them in his shed at the unit. He stores these in a paddock on his eight hectare property and goes there to retrieve parts as needed for a bike he’s restoring.
Les scratches his head and raises his eyebrows when asked how many bikes he has donated over those five years.
He comes up with a round figure of about 100 but it is probably a conservative estimate.
He spends on average about 10 hours per week restoring bikes. Many hours are spent daily with his wife Heather who is a resident at Hillview. The couple will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary in April.
Les has always been community minded. In his younger years he was a scout leader at Doveton/Hallam.
He transported people in his own vehicle to and from medical appointments as part of the Bunyip Red Cross Transport System.
Both he and Heather are Life Members of the Hallam Fire Brigade. Whilst a member of the Bunyip Fire Brigade, Les was awarded the Queen’s Fire Brigade Medal.
Les restores a bike before donating it to a community shop to aid the Bunyip and Garfield communities.