'Get outside and have some fun': Found bicycles restored for Kenosha elementary students

NOW: ’Get outside and have some fun’: Found bicycles restored for Kenosha elementary students

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Duaa Israr shares the story of aging bicycles found in the basement of Kenosha's Jefferson Elementary now being restored for donation by a local shop owner.

If you ask Robby Gauss, the sights and sounds of freedom resemble a pair of wheels and two handles.

“We would leave the house and come back when the streetlights came on,” said Gauss.

For the better part of his life, Gauss has been surrounded by pedals, chains, and breaks.

“Bike racing, I mean we traveled all over the U.S. I mean, every weekend we were going somewhere,” said Gauss.

These days, you’ll still find him around those parts, but this time, he’s putting them together.

“Pick my first load up and I think I did eight of them or something like that,” said Gauss.

When a bicycle shows up at Gauss’s shop in downtown Kenosha, it’s got a fighting chance.

“You know, you take something that’s in shambles and then you get it done and its rideable, ready to rock and roll, bike,” said Gauss.

Now, he’s working on his largest project.

“There ended up to be like 30-some bikes and I was like okay, this isn’t like some small little project. This is a big thing,” said Gauss.

It’s for some students he’s never met but walked down the same halls as them.

“He wants to do what’s great for our kids and you can just tell – he loves his craft. He loves what he does,” said Jefferson Elementary School Principal Krity Makowka.

It was at that school that Makowka made a discovery.

“They’ve been sitting down here for a while which is amazing, they’re in the condition that they are and actually ready to be reused again,” said Makowka.

Bicycles in the basement.

“You know, we come around the corner and our custodian Joe is like ‘yeah, there’s all these bikes down here,” said Makowka.

What happened next was a chain reaction of sorts.

“Maybe we could make a call. And we said, you know, let’s try to get these in the hands of kids,” said Makowka.

A mission, to give the basement bikes a new life. With each pedal forward – there’s also a reminder of the past. After 100 years, Jefferson Elementary’s doors are closing.

“So, now the idea of our former students riding their bikes to their new school – riding their Jefferson bikes to their new school is just everything,” said Makowka.

For every end, there’s a new beginning.

“That’s always the plan, you know. You always want to inspire kids to get off their phone, off the computer, get outside and have some fun,” said Gauss.

The sights and sounds of freedom don’t just stop at Gauss’s shop. Soon, you’ll find them on the streets, pedaling in this community.

“Going from where it was to where it is and where it should be,” said Gauss.

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