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In the past 8 years, Communicycle's birth and growth, is one of the greatest gifts I’ve received. There are new and growing opportunities appearing nearly daily. But a quiet day can catch you by surprise .... 

An event planned for Saturday, was cancelled the day before. I unexpectedly had a  couple of free hours on Saturday before taking a planned drive out to Pine Valley Camp to drop off some bikes. So, I decided I would spend the time alone at the New Brighton shop. I planned to turn the music up, work on a couple of bikes for some friends, and then head up to camp even more excited for the future.

The phone rang late Friday afternoon. It was a Beaver Falls number I did not recognize. This is more typical these days, as more people hear about Communicycle and call for various reasons. The woman on the phone said a mutual friend gave her my number, and she was calling for a man who may want to volunteer with us. She said she thought it could be good for him as well.

I told her I’d be at the shop Saturday morning and he was welcome to stop by. More often than not, the people don’t get there for some reason. But when I arrived, he was waiting. As we opened the building, he told me about his bike ride over from Beaver Falls. He had a tough time at a high sidewalk drop-off with brakes that weren’t the best. 

I set aside the projects I’d planned, and with the music not quite as loud, we talked a lot while we worked on his bike. I heard about some tough times in his 62 years - some significant health issues; past jail time; no longer being able to drive. But I was struck by the gratitude he expressed. He was thankful to God for getting him through; the woman from the ministry who helps him and called me; a small house he’s trying to buy that he can fix up so he can sit on his porch and maybe get a dog.

He rode in on a nice-looking bike he liked, but I wasn’t sure we’d get his brakes to how they should be for where he rides. I asked if he’d like a different bike. He admitted he had seen one he liked in the “to be fixed” group of recently donated bikes. We talked more about life as we got it ready, and he was very happy with it after a long test ride through the neighborhood. He thanked me several times for helping with the bike. We traded phone numbers, and he said he’d be back to help with bike tear downs on Tuesday.

That afternoon, I drove to the camp very reflective and grateful. For the unexpected opportunity to spend time with him. For everything I’ve been blessed with in life. And for everyone who made it possible for him to leave with a new bike - the person who donated it, the people who give us building space, everyone who has taken the time to teach me how to work on bikes so I can help others. 

He came back the next Tuesday, and met some of the other volunteers. He jumped right into helping, and I overheard him talking about his new bike a couple of times. 

Looking forward to a lot more opportunities ....

Lee Montanari 

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