Lifestyle, IN SEE Culture

December 16th’s Bike Giveaway Rekindle the Magic of the Bicycle Man

Bernadette R. Bogertey-Harvey will remember December 16th as the day she used the Mathis effect she experienced to provide holiday cheer for underprivileged children during the bike distribution. As part of a holiday gift, her organization gave kids bikes donated by supporters. Local groups also donated their time to help make this event commemorative. Bookbags and teddy bears, in honor of Mathis, were also given away during the giveaway.

Moses Mathis, known as the Bicycle Man in the community, was remembered for bearing love for needy kids through bike donations. His genuine persona was the same counteractive experience her son felt when he met the Bicycle Man. Bogertey-Harvey met Mathis through her neighbor, who introduced her to him while looking for someone to fix her son’s bike. Bernie was new to the area at the time. From there, she and Mathis became lifelong friends before his passing in July 2013.

It was the start of a new chapter that Mathis would have been proud of. “Officially, it never ended,” Bogertey-Harvey said to the writer about the continuation of his legacy. Since the program’s inception, she has been involved in the background as a board member for the Bicycle Man.

Highlights of the Bike Giveaway hosted by the Health Child and Adolescent Network, December 16, 2023; Courtesy of Cumberland County NC Government

As a seasoned school social worker, Bogertey-Harvey revamped the coordination process for needy children to receive bikes. Her decision was to prevent his widow, Ann Mathis, from being inundated with bike requests by controlling the call volumes. She collaborated with Natasha Scott, Student Services’ Executive Director at Cumberland County Schools, to develop a productive plan for organizing and distributing bikes to needy children. The concept of having the school social workers organize the procedure for school-aged children up to seven years old was approved. Bogertey-Harvey wants to push for raising the age restriction to 15 in the future.

It was a win-win situation to help Mrs. Mathis carry on the legacy and be a social worker to support needy families. In addition, Bogertey-Harvey also collaborated with the daycare directors and a family advocacy program to donate bikes.

The Bicycle Man is reborn as the Bike Madea, a name bestowed on her by her grandchildren, to continue Mathis legacy. The program is now operating through the Health Child and Adolescent Network.

Bicycles fill up the garage, December 14, 2023′ Photo Credit: Tracey Morrison/The Exclusive Press

When asked what she believed Mr. Mathis would say to her if he were there at the giveaway, she grinned and replied, “That great big old smile. He would be happy. We’re continuing what he started.”

She said that if it weren’t for him and his vision, the giveaway would not have happened. “He was definitely here on Saturday, watching the kids,” she added.

Teddy bears are described as loveable, endearing, strong, and sweet. Bogertey-Harvey shared that Mathis’ persona is the exact description of a loveable teddy bear. She rekindles that Teddy Ruxpin magic, in remembrance of the Bicycle Man during the holiday season, to show compassion, kindness, and bearing love to those in need.

It means a lot for Bogertey-Harvey, as she’s cycling the marathon race of what Mathis began at the start line. Most significantly, Mrs. Mathis, his widow, also witnessed the continuation of the Bicycle Man marathon.

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