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East Bay man fixes, donates bikes to benefit needy

<i>KPIX</i><br/>Billy Bradford says working on bicycles in his garage is a labor of love.
Billy Bradford says working on bicycles in his garage is a labor of love.


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    CASTRO VALLEY, California (KPIX) — Billy Bradford says working on bicycles in his garage is a labor of love. His passion is restoring classic bikes but he quickly realized it was the process he loved. Once he was done with one restoration, he’d give it away to make room for another.

“I’m spending money on bikes, I’m spending money on parts and I’m giving them away. This is a terrible business model,” Bradford laughed.

That’s how Bad Business Model Bikes was born in 2015 in Bradford’s Castro Valley garage.

“It’s a whole community of people that want to help and another community that need bikes and we mix them together here,” he said.

All of the bikes are donated and so are the parts. Then Bradford does the work to fix them up so he can give them away to people who can’t afford to buy one.

“I’m not a non-profit. I’m not a business. I’m just an old guy in the garage working on bikes,” he explained.

As simple as that sounds, it’s much more — especially for those, like 17-year-old Zyven Tsing, who came to Billy when he needed a bike to get to work. His bike was stolen last year and, ever since, he’s had to walk.

Zyven tried a couple of different bikes Bradford had just finished working on and picked out a black and yellow one.

“I was expecting to get a decent bike but this bike is pretty nice. I haven’t had a bike in, like, a year. I had to walk everywhere,” Zyven said.

When Zyven was about to leave Bradford told him the bike was free.

“All I ask is: pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else.”

After Zyven left Bradford said, “I get to give someone something that makes them really happy and I get the joy so it’s a little oasis of happy in my driveway.”

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