Over the past 33 years, Montreal entrepreneur Avrum (Avi) Morrow donated more than 1,700 new bicycles, helmets and locks worth roughly $600,000 to disadvantaged kids according to his obituary in the Montreal Gazette. On Saturday, at 93-years-old the man who became known as Bikeman passed away.
Morrow grew up in poverty but 70 years ago he founded Avmor which manufactures and sells cleaning and maintenance products, and developed electric hand-dryers. When Morrow turned 60, he told Gazette journalist Bill Brownstein that he wanted to do something different.
“When I was 60 years old, I decided I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a different manner,” Morrow explained a couple of years ago. “But I didn’t need anything. I had everything I could possibly want.”
So he decided the best gift he could give was to donate bikes. Every year Morrow donated hundreds of bicycles to disadvantaged children provided other assistance to Sun Youth. He also created scholarships to Concordia University for students in need. Morrow’s desire to give children bikes came from memories of his youth.
“I remembered that when I was a kid, I couldn’t get a bicycle because my parents didn’t have the means. But I kept begging them, and they finally gave in and bought me a red Raleigh bicycle. I loved that bike so much that I cleaned the spokes with a toothpick.”
Morrow’s family has vowed to continue donating bikes to the program.
“Really, he had always been there to assist in almost every kind of charitable endeavour,” said Morrow’s nephew Mattie Chinks who runs Avmor.