Joe Luchtefeld

Joe Luchtefeld, owner of Joe’s Car Care in Altamont, along with his two employees, have been fixing up bicycles to give away to kids who do not have bikes. Luchtefeld (right) and Cody Miller stand among some of the donated bikes.

By Kim Jansen

News Report Staff

When Joe Luchtefeld was a boy growing up in Altamont, he spent lots of time riding his bicycle around the community.

His bike gave him some freedom to get out of the house and out with his friends.

“When I was a kid, I would ride my bike everywhere. That is how we got around,” recalled Luchtefeld. “You got out of the house in the morning, and you didn’t come home until the street lights came on.”

Luchtefeld, who always enjoyed fixing up and tinkering with bicycles, painted his bike a half dozen times and enjoyed working on his bicycle when he has a kid.

As far as Luchtefeld is concerned, every kid needs a bike!

“I had a bicycle when I was a kid, and I just rode the heck out of it,” said Luchtefeld. “I just think kids need to get some exercise and get out of the house.”

With that in mind, Luchtefeld, who owns a full-service specialty body shop, has dedicated his time and resources to fixing up bikes for kids and giving those bikes away to kids who do not own one.

“I fix them up, clean them up and paint them,” said Luchtefeld, who owns Joe’s Car Care in Altamont. “There are more kids than you realize that don’t have bicycles. I was surprised by how many don’t.”

When Luchtefeld got the idea to start fixing up bikes a few months ago, he posted on his Facebook page that he was accepting donations of bicycles. He was surprised by the response he received from people wanting to get rid of old bikes.

“Next thing I know, I have bikes everywhere,” said Luchtefeld, adding he has received around 100 bicycle donations in the past few months.

Luchtefeld, along with his two employees – Cody Miller and Tim Hein – spend their downtime at the shop working on bikes.

“When we have free time, we work on bikes,” said Luchtefeld. “We give out one or two a week. It all depends on how many we can get done in a week.”

Luchtefeld said bikes are given at no cost to any kid that needs a bike.

“It doesn’t matter where they come from. This is for anyone who needs a bike,” he said.

With all of the donations from the community, Luchtefeld said it doesn’t cost him anything, except for a little time. And the reaction kids have when receiving a bike is well worth the time and effort.

“It is great,” he said. “The kids have smiles on their faces. It is pretty cool, and it makes you feel good.”

Luchtefeld continues to accept bicycle donations, especially 18-inch and 20-inch bicycles, which are the most popular sizes for children.

“We have received donations of all sizes, but we really would like 18-inch and 20-inch bicycle donations,” he said.

To request a bike for a child or to donate a bike, Luchtefeld can be reached at his business, Joe’s Car Care, located at 601 W. Jefferson Avenue in Altamont. He also can be contacted by phone at 618-483-5024.