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Elmira man finds a fix for his time at home

Brendan Lowther is using his spare time to repair bikes, raising money for charity. [Sean Heeger]

Being stuck inside for so long is starting to drive everyone a little crazy, but one local man has followed in the steps of many others in the community, by finding a way to put his knowledge and skills to use while also benefitting others.

Elmira resident Brendan Lowther, an employee of the University of Waterloo, has taken his experience with bicycles and started fixing them for people in the community. He did this because he wanted a way to keep himself busy while working from home and socially distancing indoors with his family. As an added bonus he was able to find a way to help raise money for charities in the community that may need extra assistance during the current COVID-19 crisis.

“Just seeing other groups like the folks who have been sewing the masks – which have been amazing – that was inspiring because I don’t know how to sew and I didn’t know what else to do,” said Lowther. “So I just thought about it and I realized that one thing I can do as someone who’s sort of a professional recreationist … this was my simple way of being able to provide something.”

Lowther is offering a “tune-up” on bikes but he can also fix flat tires, repair and replace brake and gear cables and more. The cost is $40 and parts are extra. From each repair, $20 is donated to a charity. His process is contactless

After only working on this new project for two weeks, Lowther has fixed 13 bikes and has donated more than $250 to Grand River Hospital. He will be changing the charity where the money will be donated for the upcoming two weeks, with proceeds raised going to the Woolwich Residents Support Fund.

He says he can fix about six per weekend so he can ensure there is optimal time to spend with his family, and has already booked another three weeks worth of repairs. He says he will continue his new initiative as long as there’s interest in the community and time may be reduced after the May long weekend as he will be starting grad school.

Lowther says the feedback from the community has been fantastic and he’s glad he was able to find a way to give back to the community during these difficult times brought on by COVID-19.

“It’s important for people to realize that they can give back any way they can,” said Lowther. “Whether it’s donating money or sewing masks or providing supplies… everybody I think can play a role. My little spring tune-up is maybe just a small example of that. Others in the community are doing so much more, but I think everybody is able to provide something.”

Those interested in getting their bike fixed and ready to ride while they’re stuck at home can contact Lowther through Facebook, on Twitter by messaging @brendanlowther, or emailing Brendan@lowther.ca. Spots are available for the weekend of May 2 and beyond.

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