In the words of Dylan, gratitude is a major part of chasing your dreams. On Saturday, April 17th, Lefty Cycles was setting up tents and unloading bicycles into the parking lot of First Town Real Estate in Windsor by 7am. Tony of AFS Contracting brought incredible energy (in addition to big machinery) and the power house team from First Town Real Estate/Nicole Kozak Lee Real Estate welcomed everyone with open arms. Months of planning resulted in the Inaugural Event of “Bikes for a Better Future”. We are overwhelmingly grateful for these passionate business professionals who love their community and believed in our mission.
Leading up to the official 10am start time, the morning volunteers did not hesitate in the utilization of sidewalk chalk. By creating colorful images and motivational messaging, it was cool to witness the power of creativity at any age. The entire event area was covered in bright chalk by the end of the day and the “Chalk & Cheer” Project will continue to be a staple for future Lefty Cycles events.
The Lefty Cycles Project (TLCP) is learning as we grow and this event proved that our mission is on the right track, heading towards creating a sustainable bicycle supply/demand program. The foundational goal is to help the under-served population of people in recovery through bikes, positivity and community engagement. Each community has its own unique approach to serving its citizens and the Town of Windsor was eager to offer support! This was our first attempt at collecting bikes at an event and also, having bikes available for distribution. As we improve on our practices, which comes with experience, it's safe to say we felt the magic. Offering a bike to someone who directly benefits from a new set of wheels and watching them ride away with joy is why Lefty Cycles began this journey.
The drive-through food collection was a great way to meet people from the community, especially a few board members of the Windsor Food & Fuel Bank who were extremely helpful throughout the planning process. With each donation (food, bike, monetary) we rang a cowbell and cheered. We had an overwhelming number of opportunities to ring the bells in celebration throughout the day.
A Few thoughts from Dylan Howley, Founder of The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc...
“We did it!!!! We made Saturday the best day ever!!! Thank you so much for all your help, time, support, and smiles all day. I’m feeling incredible, smiling ear to ear, I hope you are as well. There is no doubt that all of our efforts made a difference as we collected and donated almost 300 lbs of food for the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank. We were able to spread positivity with sidewalk chalk, donated a handful of bikes and received almost 20 bikes throughout the day. Topping the day off with incredible live music! I could not have asked for a better day. Thank you again! I am already looking forward to next year’s event and working with such incredible people.”
At 12pm we had a group of ten people (aged 5-50) participate in a bike ride through a beautiful wooded area of Windsor. At 2:30pm, Otan Vargas began setting up for his incredible performance. He donated his time and beautiful talents to sing and engage with the event volunteers and guests. For his final song, Otan sang one of his original creations. “This song is about faith. Just keep moving forward”, said Vargas. As the day came to a close, his words aligned perfectly with the Lefty Cycles mentality of “No more bad days”. The volunteers truly kept the event moving and their support was immeasurable.
It was a remarkable experience and because of the support of AFS Contracting, First Town Real Estate/Nicole Kozak Lee Real Estate & The Windsor Food and Fuel Bank, Lefty Cycles will continue to grow. If you or someone you know in recovery could benefit from a bicycle, please reach out to The Lefty Cycles Project. If you would like to learn more about our organization, visit our website: https://www.theleftycyclesproject.org/