I can’t think of Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery (LBR) or Trips for Kids Denver/Boulder without thinking about Rey. It is as if he has always been there but truth be told we just met him. Until this Spring, Rey, by his own admission, spent all of his time inside watching television and playing video games. Now, he is never inside and he is always on the go. He volunteers at the shop every day and is never seen without a smile. Since becoming part of TFK he has built a bike; gone for a mountain bike ride; traveled outside of the city to discover the magic of the mountains and the open space; volunteered at the Mt. Evans Hill Climb and actually raced in the Bannock St. Criterium. When the shop is closed he goes for a bike ride. While at TFK he fixes bikes, works the register, takes over the Executive Director’s desk and adds joy to everyone’s day.
I sat down with Rey on the rickety picnic table outside the shop and asked him why he has become part of TFK and I was a bit surprised by his answer. My assumption is that he would say it teaches him a vocation and he did say that but more importantly, Rey told me that it is because it has taught him about respect and integrity. He feels he treats people better and he thinks more about his actions. Curious to find out if he was discourteous to others in the past, Rey didn’t think he was but he never thought about it and now he does. He is learning to be a bicycle mechanic, and the ins/outs of running a bicycle shop and that alone is a tremendous gift to any youth today but to help a young teen learn about kindness to strangers, well, that is priceless.
Rey is already focusing on his next project: building bicycles for his cousins in Mexico. He feels a bike would be a valuable resource for his cousins in Mexico allowing them mobility and freedom. His cousins are lucky to be related to someone like Rey.
Trips for Kids was built to aid youth like Rey and get them out on bicycles but do not underestimate the value these kids bring to the table. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. We all gain from knowing and working with youth like Rey. He has changed our lives as much as we have changed his. All because of a bicycle.