Braves honor local bike shop owners

June 21st, 2017
Outfielder Nick Markakis helps local Atlanta kids work on a bike at Bearing Bikes Shop. (Jaylon Thompson)

ATLANTA -- Tim and Becky O'Mara saw a chance to help their community nine years ago and started Bearings Bike Shop in metro Atlanta.

On Wednesday afternoon, the O'Maras were recognized as part of Braves Community Heroes Week after starting a mentoring program to help local youth.

Braves personnel, including outfielders , Danny Santana, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and third-base coach Ron Washington surprised the O'Maras with a $5,000 donation and pizza for the kids.

"It's super special to share this with the kids here, as it is so fun," Becky O'Mara said. "We love telling people about what we do and how special these kids are, so it's super fun."

The O'Maras opened Bearings Bike Shop after noticing a young girl who was unable to ride her bicycle in the neighborhood. The girl needed new tires, and the O'Maras thought they could help her earn the tires through community service. They aided the young girl by encouraging her to clean up the neighborhood, and eventually, she was rewarded with a new bike.

"We kind of started the program in our driveway for the first year," Becky O'Mara said. "Kids would come by and fix their bikes and earn bikes in the community. A year and a half after that, we moved into the shop."

The Bearings Bike Shop is now a mentoring program for young kids to learn bike skills and life lessons. The O'Maras teach the kids about character strength, hard work, respect and perseverance. For kids like 11-year-old Brayshun Linebarker, the bike shop has helped him grow as a person.

"When I first came here, I thought that it was going to be really hard," Linebarker said. "When I started learning, it became easier than it looked."

The Braves helped build bikes alongside the kids. Each bike part assembled was donated by families and individuals who no longer have use for them. Once the bikes are refurbished, they are given out as donations to youths in the Atlanta area.

"It is so many nooks and crannies with the bike that it is pretty amazing to see the kids do what they can do with bikes and the knowledge they have at such a young age," Markakis said.

The Braves invited the O'Maras and the kids to SunTrust Park to hang out with the team and watch batting practice. In addition to the Braves' donation, the O'Maras received $5,000 from visual content company Beam Imagination.

"We never thought about doing it for any recognition, as we were doing it for the kids and to benefit the community," Tim O'Mara said. "It was all the recognition that we needed, and this is awesome."