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Billy’s Bike Rentals donating bikes

By Staff | Dec 21, 2012

PHOTO PROVIDED Billy's Rental employees pose for a snapshot Monday before delivering two trailers filled with more than 120 Christmas bikes to needy families.

Billy Kirkland loves to play Santa Claus and it’s not the first time, either.

The owner of Billy’s Bike Rentals on Sanibel and his employees delivered more than 120 bicycles Monday to the Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI) in Cape Coral and Fort Myers to be given to needy adults and children for Christmas.

“I’ve done things like this in the past, but I wanted to do something in Lee County this year,” said Billy Kirkland. “I came up with the idea and worked with CCMI to do something on my own for Christmas.”

Kirkland took the bicycles from his rental inventory, all “gently used” and in good condition. There were an assortment of 26-inch, single and multi-speed adult bicycles, 20- and 24-inch children’s bikes as well as a number of tandem “tag-a-long” bikes, extra saddles for bikes that need replacing, and 20 baby seats.

“I am very fortunate to be in a business where I can do something like this,” said Kirkland. “I was the recipient of such things when I was a kid growing up in south Georgia. Now, my business allows be to give something back.”

JIM LINETTE Hundreds of bicycles of all sizes and descriptions line the racks at Billy's Bike Rentals on Sanibel. The Sanibel vendor donated more than 120 bikes from its inventory to the Community Cooperative Ministries Inc. program which identified families in need of bikes this Christmas.

Kirkland and five of his employees made the first delivery Monday to CCMI’s Cape Cafe at the United Way House and a second delivery to CCMI’s Dunbar location, 3429 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. CCMI identified the recipient families from its programs.

“We add new bicycles to the rental inventory every year,” said Kirkland. “My employees are just as excited about it as I am. In fact, one of my employees is taking some bikes today (Tuesday) to the school on Pine Island for kids who need bikes there.”

Billy and his wife, Salli, have been on Sanibel Island since 1985 renting bikes, sailboats, giving lessons, and providing beach services at resorts. They were one of the first operators to establish beach service and sailboat rentals on Fort Myers Beach more than 30 years ago.

While in a giving mood around Christmas, Kirkland finds ways to help others throughout the year, such as providing bikes to interns working at CROW and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and other random acts of generosity.

Billy’s also rents motor scooters, segways, surreys, bikes and other beach equipment.