Freedom is a ticket to ride

I just got another big load of bicycles fixed up for the kids at Sand Point. They are donated in various conditions, parts here, parts there. Some of them I went out and got, some of them just showed up, some were left by former residents…

I’ve given away 34 bikes over the past couple of years. I have four or five to work on now… I’m working with the parts and pieces I’ve got, a few carcasses in the bone yard.

I started working on bikes right after I got out of the hospital a few years back, because I couldn’t afford a new one.boy on bike

I’m foot challenged, I can’t walk too far because of neuropathy. But I can ride! And all these parts of bikes were at Solid Ground’s Santos Place (transitional housing for single men and women at Sand Point). Roger, who runs Santos Place, said, ‘you can take these bikes and put them together.’

So I started putting together bikes and giving them away. And I started fixing bikes for the kids. I know what I was like when I was a kid with a bike; I broke it pretty regularly. And a lot of the kids that come through the Family Housing have never had a bike.

That is why I really do it is to see the look on their little faces! Because when you get a bike, it means you have arrived, welcome to the big time, you know. I know how I felt with my first bike when I was a kid and I want them to feel the same thing. It is just so cool. I do it for selfish reasons!

girl on bikeWhile we don’t currently have room at Sand Point for donations of bikes, folks who have bikes they would like to donate to help young people who can’t afford them should contact Bikeworks.

Cascade Bike Club has been just phenomenal on supplying us with bike helmets for Sand Point residents, kids and grownups!

Bill, the maintenance guy at Sand Point, is a man of the year candidate! He’s really good at reading the kids. He says, “Well, he destroyed their Barbie Playhouse and broke the swing set, well he needs one of these kind of bikes!” I work with him directly on deciding. We hit it off from the word go; I like the way he operates. So I fix them up and say, ‘These are ready to go, Bill. You got any people you think could use one?’ And he’s linked in the with case management staff. Darlene, Joshua and Liz are all incredibly supportive! The bikes get shipped out pretty quickly.

(Editor’s note: Peter’s personal stable is down to four bikes. First is his regular hybrid bike. “If your regular bike breaks down, you need to go get more bike parts,” he says. So, that’s the “basic transportation backup.” He has a recumbent, aka the Rocket Ship, which is the “research and development bike.” Peter has plans to swap out chain rings, pedal arms, etc. “Then you’ll be able to climb trees with it!” Number four is an old Raleigh Grand Prix road bike, sitting unused for a while.)

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