Maui bicycle shop spreads joy amid pandemic ― one free repair at a time

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:50 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:12 PM HST
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MAKAWAO (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, the owner of Krank Cycles ― a bicycle business in Makawao ― got an idea.

“We have a commercial entity that services the hotels. I decided to use that since the hotels were dead to go fix individual bikes door to door,” AAron Riechert said.

That’s how the Maui Bike Mission was born.

“Every time we’ve done these things, the reaction is just the joy and the freedom being out on a bike, and that’s why I’m in the industry,” he said.

In the last year and a half, Riechert has taken his bike fix-it team on the road.

“They were dragging broken bikes from the weeds and out of the riverbed,” Riechert said. “We ended up taking 17 bikes and making 13 working bikes for all these kids,” he said.

The Krank crew has even gone on off island. On Lanai, they fixed more than 200 bicycles in one day.

“We started at 9 and worked until dark. We had head lamps. It was amazing,” Riechert said.

He estimates since the Maui Bike Mission began, his team has repaired about 500 bikes. And they’ve done all of them free of charge.

“We were just very blessed. We’re lucky that we were essential doing repairs. Who knew that bikes were this crazy thing to keep people sane,” he said.

Since word has gotten out through social media, other Maui communities have invited Krank to come to their neighborhoods.

“We want the community to invite us. We don’t want to force it and say, ‘Hey, we’re coming,’” Riechert said.

His team practices COVID safety measures when they go into the field. And when they show up, they also deliver donated bicycles. They’ve distributed about 250.

Krank’s next big bike mission will be to Molokai on Sept. 25. If you live on Maui and like to donate a working bicycle to the Molokai community, drop it off at Krank Cycles at 1120 Makawao Ave.

Riechert said he’ll keep the bike mission going as long as he can, and he hopes his story inspires others to pay it forward.

“Whatever your skill is, whatever your heart’s desire is, you can take that and give it to other people,” he said.

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