by: Ariel Min – Circa – It all started when Jeremy Clerc was 14. On a family vacation trip to Florida, Clerc met a man nicknamed “Jack the Bikeman,” who fixes thousands of bikes and gives them away to needy children. This left a strong impression on Clerc, so he decided to help.

Jack the Bikeman, whose real name is Jack Hairston, has been doing this for years from his shop in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“[Jack] explained to me that he would fix up these bicycles all year long for the end of the year to give them to children,” Clerc said.

Clerc started out by volunteering at the shop to help fix the bikes. But when he returned home to New York City, he decided to find a way to help financially.

Clerc came up with a business plan to sell some of the bikes Hairston fixed and return the profit to the charity. The result was Kidz on Bikes, the nonprofit he’s been running for the past three years.

Clerc said he has raised thousands of dollars for Hairston, not only through the bike sales, but also through fundraising events he’s hosted at his high school and other schools around New York.

“Living in the city my whole life, taking out my bicycle in Central Park was really my only escape to nature,” Clerc said.

He plans on taking his passion for bicycles and helping others to a bigger scale when he goes off to college later this year.

Last year, Jack and his team were able to give out around 1,400 bicycles to needy children during the holidays.

Kidz on Bikes is always looking for new donated bikes and other help, click here to see how you can get involved.