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85-year-old fixes up bicycles for children’s Christmas gifts in Burnaby

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Retiree refurbishes bikes for children'
This Is BC: Retiree refurbishes bikes for children
An elderly B.C. retiree is finding he's busier than ever with a new labour of love - bringing joy to underprivileged kids. Jay Durant has his story on This Is BC – Dec 4, 2022

At 85 years old, Dennis Baker is supposed to be enjoying his retirement years, but the former office supply salesman is working harder than ever.

For the past 17 years, he’s been fixing up discarded bikes and donating them to the Christmas Bureau for families in need.

“(I am working around) 40 to 50 hours a week,” said Baker.

“I have the self-satisfaction of knowing I’ll make some kids happy.”

The first year, he donated six bicycles, and last year — a record 137 bikes.

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“It fulfills his life,” said Noreen Baker, Dennis’ wife. “At 85, he’s still really spry.”

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Once word got around, bike shops started making donations to Baker and neighbours would show up with some old wheels destined for the scrap heap.

“I want them to look as new as possible with the budget I’ve got, which is nothing,” said Dennis.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but enjoyable hard work.”

Once again, this year he’s managed to fill an entire storage room with refurbished bikes destined to be a Christmas gift for a lucky new rider.

Bikes are a hot commodity at the Burnaby Christmas Bureau and Dennis’ bicycles are always a popular Christmas item.

“The parents come in and that’s the first thing they ask for. Do you have any bikes this year?” said Pam Bloom, with the Burnaby Christmas Bureau.

Dennis said he won’t stop building bikes for kids until he’s no longer physically able, which won’t be anytime soon, according to the retiree.

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