Team Lefty Cycles ended the month of May with a long list of accomplishments and we’re excited to share a few updates with you. On Sunday, May 2nd, our founder, Dylan celebrated his fifteenth year of recovery. He has spent over five thousand days actively focused on his sobriety and mental health. That in itself deserves a blog post but instead, he is planning a big event in October so stay in touch and we will share more details in the coming months. First, he needs to focus on Ironman Lake Placid which is less than two months away!
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month AND also happens to be National Bike Month. If Lefty Cycles wanted to pick one month out of the year to showcase their mission and goals, it seems that May is a suitable option. How can The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. be described in 3 words? Bikes, Positivity, Recovery.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. On behalf of the millions of Americans who face the reality of living with mental health issues, Lefty Cycles wants to support the 2021 message of “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” Prioritizing mental health and sharing resources with family and friends is just the beginning, but in the words of Dylan, “Recovery is possible. We do Recover.” For assistance, Call the NAMI HelpLine at: 1-800-950-NAMI or in a crisis text “NAMI” to 741741. You can also email Dylan directly if you’re in need of insight surrounding Recovery, (Dylan@theleftycyclesproject.org)
One of Dylan’s tools used not only for recovery but also for mental health support is riding his bike. May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more people to give biking a try. Exercise is proven to improve mental health and hopping on a bike can turn any dark day into a manageable day at the very least.
On Wednesday, May 5th, Dylan dropped off a bike to be displayed during an event called Bicycles on Main which was organized by the Bike Walk Wethersfield group. Throughout the entire month, hundreds of bikes were decorated by community members and put on display to encourage visitors and raise awareness for bike safety and improved infrastructure for cyclists. With a creative spin, The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. designed a bike for the event that was painted white and provided an interactive component. People were able to write words of encouragement all over the frame and on the sign displayed beside the bike.
During the entire month, Lefty Cycles was able to donate 19 bicycles among three different organizations. One of the groups is Sound Community Services, Inc. of New London. Two residential programs at Sound co-hosted their 1st Annual Spring BBQ for residents on May 21st, and we had the pleasure of participating. Dylan was born and raised in NL and it was an amazing experience to watch him share his story with a group of people also in recovery. Six bikes will be divided between two Residential locations and Lefty Cycles is excited to develop a long term relationship with Sound Community Services which includes their clients and staff.
Here is a short blurb printed in The Day paper about the collaboration: theday.com
The Staff at Sound Community Services, Inc. is dedicated to educating, empowering, and creating opportunities for individuals with behavioral health and substance abuse diseases. The Staff (and clients) were extremely welcoming towards the Lefty Cycles visitors and we were able to witness their compassion and dedication first hand. They work tirelessly to create a culture and environment in which recovery and wellness are possible. If you know anyone who works within the realm of mental health/social services, make sure you acknowledge their hard work. Their contributions within our communities can often be underestimated and they deserve more praise. (Shout out to Stacey Suplicki, pictured below...without her, the team work wouldn't have been so seamless )
Throughout this journey of defining Lefty Cycles and developing into something that matters, we’ve slowly been maturing as a new organization. It's been so fun to watch Dylan do his thing and connect with people. This last month, he was able to get a bike into the hands of someone who really needed it. The testimony below is from the recipient of the bike and it's so incredible to see our mission fulfilled with a positive outcome!
“Shout out to lefty cycles for not only giving me this dope bike but to giving me a sense of freedom and a reason to get outside and shred! I can’t thank you enough. #NoMoreBadDays "