On top of being one of the most dedicated volunteers at Bici Digna, Gil is one lucky bicyclist. He’s unintentionally parted ways with his bike twice, and both times they’ve been reunited.
“I was in Los Angeles and going toward Santa Monica. I put my bike on the 33 bus…and when I got to Vermont, I realized when I got off that my bike wasn’t there anymore!” Not only did Gil probably justify your paranoia of this very thing happening every time you get on the bus with you bike, but he might make you feel all warm and fuzzy when you hear how he got it back. “Someone saw me, I didn’t know that person. He saw me get on the bus with the bike, maybe he was closer to the front, I don’t know, but he had my bike, and he gave it to me. He had taken it away from the person that took it off the bus.”
The second time he almost lost his bike, Gil recovered it on his own. “I was on the [Big Blue Bus], the 10, I got on in Los Angeles, and when I got down I forgot my bike! Cuz I was thinking a lot, you know? I called and asked the office and they told me ‘Yeah, that bicycle is there, you just have to wait until the bus gets to the depot, but it gets here at one. You can wait here and you can get your bike.’” Thanks to some cool people and a phone call, Gil and his bike are reunited, and yes, it feels pretty good.
Gil has been a part of Bici Digna since the Bike Mechanic Training Courses started back in October. “The classes are important because I’m learning a lot and it really benefits me…when something happens, well I can fix it.”
For Gil, Bici Digna has not only helped him when it comes to bicycling, but has become an important part of his day-to-day. “It’s a routine that I’ve experimented with that works for me. In the mornings, I work at four in the morning, and around six in the morning I’m free and I come over here to the center…Times are hard, but it’s helped me a lot because not only am I learning, but I’m using my time on something that helps a lot.”
Just as he’s learned to fix up his own bike and the bikes of those who need it, Gil would like others to try to be more active when it comes to bike mechanics. “I would advise all of my colleagues to dedicate some time, maybe not to form their own workshop, but to give some maintenance to their own bikes, whether it’s for their family or their friends. I’d like to motivate my fellow day laborers and non-day laborers too, because this [Bike Mechanic] class is very important because even though you don’t pay any money, you learn, and you benefit from it.”
Gil, with his time and dedication, has become an important part of Bici Digna, and we’re glad to have him around.