You know, you just never know how the people you meet, especially in college, will affect you when you are older. I’ve talked many times about the guys, Scott, Jim and Dave. The ones I’ve known for 30 + years non-stop. However there are others, like Stacy, one of the hottest freshmen we ever met (which of course first gained the attention of us college boys) who quickly became one the guys and very important to us.
Fast forward the 30 years and the lady is even more amazing. She has a heart as big as her smile, and her smile is huge! As you can see here when she stepped up with her Starbucks power to provide coffee for those in need!
She does anything she can to help animals or people, especially the homeless, who need it. I’ve seen her more than once pay for coffee out of her pocket for someone who couldnt come up with the cash. I am very lucky to know someone who is as beautiful inside and out, so when the lady makes a request for a blog post that DOES have to do with cycling as well, how can I resist.
Through her, today I learned how Facing Homelessness in Seattle helps those in need with their two-wheeled steeds.
To be honest, and being generally clueless, I hadn’t given much thought to the transportation needs of homeless individuals. But here in Seattle, things are continually getting much harder for anyone who has to rely on public transportation. Last fall, the Ride Free zones (downtown Seattle) was eliminated due to budget cuts. This means if someone needs to get anywhere, there’s a cost.
Now, as of last week actually, Metro has announced even more service cuts due to a levy failing. This will make it even harder to get around, and probably more expensive, for those who can least afford.
However, a few lucky ones still have their bikes. Lord knows if I had this happen to me, the Tri Cross would come with me. Many of you know from experience the freedom two wheels provide you. You can go farther, carry more, and use much less energy than walking. You are not subject bus schedules or routes. In fact, in a city like Seattle, I’d take a bike over a car any day!
But what does this have to do with the organization I mentioned above?
Well as we all know, bikes that live in houses, sheds, or garages all need maintenance. Even bikes that are only ridden on warm sunny Sundays by little old ladies need to have the chain lubed occasionally. Well think about the bikes of the homeless. They truly get ridden hard and put away wet. When you are struggling for food, bikes repairs are way down the line of priorities. However, if they lose their bike lifeline, life gets even harder!
Facing Homelessness has worked out a deal with Reynaldo at Red Rooster Bikes in Fremont (part of Seattle.) He is the one on the left below.
Reynaldo does two very important things for those needing help. First and foremost, he will donate the labor costs of any repair for those in need. Yall know as well as I do, some TLC for the chains, cables and brakes can go a long way to keeping a bike, especially one exposed to the elements like these, alive.
In addition, Reynaldo takes in donated bikes, and for those that are sale worthy, he does the repairs needed to get them ready for sale. Half the proceeds of these sales go directly to Facing Homelessness, the rest is used to defer the costs of repairs for these bikes. Reynaldo sounds like the male cycling version of my friend Stacy! Both of these people go out of their way to make those in need feel important and respected. I can only imagine how much this means to them.
So what can you do? Check out Facing Homelessness on line for more information and do donate if you are inclined. If you are local (Seattle area) and have a bike, helmets or equipment gathering dust and you’ve meant to get it on Craigslist or something, consider giving them a call at 206 632 7299, to schedule a drop off.
For non locals, I am betting a city near you has the same type of thing going on. Google is our friend! Take some time to do what you can.
Thanks Stace! For telling me about this and I hope it helps in some way!
Thanks for visiting!