25 April 2020

An Essential Worker Gets What He Needs

If you've been reading this blog, you might remember that back in June, I got a 1996 Cannondale M300 mountain bike for not much money.  I fixed it up and turned it into a pretty decent city commuter.

It was actually good for the purpose:  I could ride it over almost any pothole or other obstacle without thinking.  It gave a smooth, fairly responsive ride, but I didn't have to worry about parking it because, in ten different shades of battleship gray, it didn't attract much attention.

So why am I talking about the bike in the past tense?  Well, I learned that Transportation Alternatives, of which I am a member, was participating in a program to give bikes to essential workers who are trying to avoid the subways and buses as they run less frequently and are thus more crowded. (Subway cars and buses been described as "Petri dishes" for coronavirus.)

I have my Fuji Allegro, which had been sharing commuting duties with the Cannondale--and had been my commuter before the 'Dale came along.  I got to thinking:  I have two commuter bikes and I'm not commuting.  Someone else has to commute and doesn't have a bike.

So why did I decide to give the Cannondale away?  Even though I installed upright bars, fenders and a rack, it's still a fairly close to its original self.  The Fuji, on the other hand, is a bit more idiosyncratic: The ways in which I altered it might not appeal to everyone.  Also, it fits me better than the 'Dale--and it's a mixte.

I sent Transportation Alternatives the bike's measurements and my height.  They found Georgios,an emergency-room doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital-Queens, just two blocks from where I live.  He's a little shorter than I am, and the bike has a long seatpost extended fairly far out, so the bike could be adjusted fit him well.

Georgios:  a hero.

The other night, when he finished his shift, we met.  Georgios, who's from Greece, told me his bike had been stolen and since the pandemic struck New York, he had been walking to work from Manhattan--about eight kilometers--because he didn't want to take the subway.

He'd applied to Specialized bike- match program, but all the bikes were gone, he told me.  He said, almost apologetically, that if Specialized contacts him and offers a bike, he'll pass the Cannondale on to someone else who needs it.  I told him not to worry:  If he likes the Cannondale, he should keep it, even if another bike comes along.  Besides, I am not about to place conditions on anything I give to someone who, in the course of doing his job, has seen patients as well as co-workers die.

I'm having a bad hair day--and week--and month!

All I asked is that he stay in touch: I want to be sure he's OK.  And I hope the bike is useful and brings pleasure for him.

1 comment:

  1. What an uplifting post. Your hair actually looks nice by the way:)