Monday, April 11, 2011

Atta Boy Roy!

Happy Monday! Today I want to brag a little about my buddy Roy. Not only does he give some of the best belly-rubs, but he's doing some awesome things on two wheels these days. We sat down the other day in B & L too and talked about his most recent philanthropic adventure.

Can you give me a brief summary of what you do? I ride tandem bikes with visually impaired students at the Halten Center in San Pablo, California. 

Who drives? I’m going to pretend you didn’t ask me that.

What goes on at the center? The center operates to help students [ages range from 18-22] transition towards living independently. They help them learn how to use public transit, practice cane skills, build maps in their head, work through financial advising, cooking etc. 

What’s your purpose with the tandem riding? It’s mostly just to get the kids some exercise and fresh air. I think it helps that I’m not asking anything of them. I’m there to take them out, get ‘em some air, and have a good time.

How did you get hooked up with this gig? Well, the first reason is that my fiancĂ© happens to work there.  They have some tandem bicycles that needed to be fixed and I was volunteered for the job.  While I was there, I found a brand new bike and my immediate thought was “Can I use this?!” They said yes and I started taking the students on rides. Although, it was my first time riding a tandem and they, the students, had to tell me what to do.

What has been challenging about doing these rides? Initially, most of the students haven’t been on a bike before. For some, pedaling is a brand new concept. The difficulty arises in having to explain everything verbally and without any visual cues whatsoever. It sounds fairly simple, until you try it.

What have you learned about other humans by doing this besides that they should give Cats more treats?  I have learned that there’s no way to guess who’s going to be excited about what.  One student that appeared lackluster in attitude and lacking in physical activity became incredibly excited about hills. Then there’s the silent girl who keeps coming back every single week.  In short, I guess, I’d say I’ve learned that people are surprising. And it’s interesting to see what they pay attention to. They notice changes in the material we’re riding on, the temperature, or the scent of the air. To hear the girl behind me announce that we’re passing through a Eucalyptus grove without being able to see it is really cool.

What have you learned about yourself? Again, besides the fact that more treats for Cats could equal world happiness. I’ve learned that I’m a sucker for helping people and that means my soul might be redeemed after all.

Have you had any interesting adventures? One time I took the tandem mountain biking.

Wait, you have a tandem Mountain bike? Nope.

What happened? Well, I was riding on a road that was supposed to be paved and then it wasn’t. The road turned into dirt, worse dirt, and, finally, mud. The great thing is that the students are always up for anything and it’s awesome. 

So, when will you incorporate tandem rides with cats? I’ll take you out with the dog next week if you’d like?

No thanks!                    

Well I'm definitely impressed by Roy and the incredible adventurousness of the students at the center. Next week Roy will be riding in the Cycle4Sight ride in Napa next week with co-pilot Erika (pictured above) on the tandem.

Go Get 'Em Roy!