Bowling Green resident dubbed ‘The Bicycle Man’

Sitting on the back porch of his Bowling Green home, Harold Snyder, 81, chats with a neighbor. His porch, adorned with three clocks, all set to different times, and about a dozen puzzles stacked in the corner, doesn’t show signs of his favorite hobby.

It’s only his plaid, button-up shirt, covered in axle grease, that implies what Snyder did earlier that day.

Snyder fixes bicycles. He fixes lots of bicycles. In fact, if you drive by his house, you’ll see his garage overflowing with bicycles.

But he doesn’t advertise his expertise to get them there, they come by word of mouth.

Years of satisfied students and community members tell friends with broken bikes to go see “The Bicycle Man.”

Snyder has been fixing bikes his whole life. The only way he could have a bike was to fix up an old one.

“I never had a new bicycle of my own,” he said.

Fixing bikes became a hobby for him, and decades later, he’s spending his retirement fixing bikes for University students.

“I do it mainly to help the college kids out, and I like to do it,” he said.

Not only will he fix a bicycle, he also buys them from community and university auctions, fixes them up, and sells them to students who don’t have a bicycle already.

But Snyder doesn’t make much of a profit from his work, just enough to keep the repairs going.

“Some of these jobs take 3 or 4 hours to do,” he said. “If I got paid by the hour I’d get ten cents an hour.”

Harold lives with his wife Mary Snyder, 84, who refers to herself as “just a housewife,” but Harold calls her a “domestic engineer.”

His wife said she enjoys the students, but gets upset when her husband’s bicycle work interferes with dinner.

“I like to eat when it’s hot,” she said.

But meeting so many students has made a few missed meals worthwhile.

“I’ve met some good people,” she said.

Snyder’s service has had the largest impact on international students.

He received an award from the international program last year for “Outstanding Community Service.”

Claire Lewis, from International Programs, appreciates what Snyder has done for the international community.

“A lot of our students can’t drive,” she said. “His bicycle making gives an opportunity for students to get transportation for a really low cost.”

Lewis thinks his service leaves a lasting impression on the international students.

“It’s just a really nice welcoming message for students coming into the country that he puts so much time and effort into making [their] bikes,” she said.

Snyder asks students not to throw their bicycles away.

“Don’t junk your bicycle,” he said. “Talk to ‘The Bicycle Man.'”