Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why We Work In A Bike Shop - An Ongoing Dialogue

Truth be known, I am supposed to be working on my taxes but thought my time would be better spent with this blog entry.  When you embark on a course you seldom know how it will turn out and there are permutations that you cannot even imagine at that point - sometimes it even comes full circle.  It took a little over a year, but one event did just that.

You may recall that the shop ran a Cash for Clunkers promotion last winter where people could trade in old, but serviceable bikes, for credit toward a new bike.  The best bikes were rehabilitated and then donated to either Union Gospel Mission or Pedals 2 People - both great organizations that provide needed services to this community.  We had a great time with the event and everyone pitched-in to make sure the bikes were good to go. The generosity of people in Spokane was truly overwhelming. In all, 15 bikes went to each non-profit. It gave everyone in the shop a sense of pride to help the organizations with something we all enjoy and love. What we did not know is what happened after the bikes were donated.

I was stopped this week by a man in the shop who was looking at new Trek mountain bike.  We will call him Sam out of respect for his privacy.  He said how cool he thought the program had been and went on to describe the impact the bikes had on his life.  Though he never thought he would be there, through circumstance he found himself living at the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and realized he needed to make some changes in his life.  He was working through the Program to get his life back on track last spring when the bikes were delivered to the Mission.

If you don't know about the Program at UGM, it takes over a year to complete and is very tough at every turn.  I have a great deal of respect for the men and women who have graduated from this Program and are now leading fulfilling and productive lives.  Because it was tough, Sam said there were times he wanted to quit, but he found fulfillment and pride in maintaining the very bikes that people had cared enough to donate.  That was enough to get him through.

The pride was evident as he went on to say that he successfully graduated from the Program and is back on his feet again.  In fact, he is giving back by continuing to help maintain the bikes at UGM so that others may benefit as he has.  His next goal is a shiny, perfect, new bike that he can call his own and looks forward to the independence a bike provides.  That is why he came into the shop this week - that is why we work in a bike shop.  Sometimes it comes full-circle.

Hats off to you and congratulations Sam.  We'll see you on the road.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I work at UGM's camp and know how wonderful it is to see the kids ride the donated bikes through our bike trails. It is awesome to see their smiling faces as they open the bike barn and get out a bike. Thanks for all you do in helping others enjoy a little bit of hope.

    Bill Iannuzzi