Flour plus bikes = bread for the masses!
In the midst of a COVID-19 upheaval the whole world all of a sudden has to do a lot less introspection and a lot more reaching out. I am more talking about getting to know your neighbour and specifically those in need.
Working for a cycling charity has advantages every day of the week. But now specifically, bicycles can be a saviour in more ways than one.
Last week Bike for Good had to make some hard decisions in order to look after our team, our volunteers and our community. It was decided that all of us that could work from home should do so, in order to stay healthy and to keep those around us healthy too. This also meant we could continue selling bikes in our shops by having only a core team with lots of space around them and little to no crowding.
That is how I found myself working from home. Being at home, I very quickly realised I would like to do something more to help those that find themselves in precarious situations like self isolation or looking after someone that is poorly. Apart from riding my bike and running, baking is something I greatly enjoy. A little plan began to form in my head. What if? What if I could bake some extra loaves and then provide these loaves to people in need? But how, with only a wee home kitchen oven and two loaf tins?
I looked around on Facebook and was pointed to the Southside Self-Isolation Supporters group, where all kinds of lovely people were offering their help, and where people in need could ask for assistance. The word ‘neighbour’ all of a sudden had that warm fuzzy feeling once again. It is here where I posted my offer, and where I met Yvonne.
Yvonne told me all about the Castlemilk Senior Centre where over 415 elderly people are being taken care of: receiving help in the form of shopping and food, amongst other needs. Unfortunately, the Centre has now been closed to the public. Meals are now being made and delivered to their members.
This resonated with me. I wanted to help these people. I started rooting through my flour stock which I very quickly depleted. I was on a roll!
Remembering the Supporters group on Facebook, I reached out and asked for help. By golly did I discover many many angels who went out to hunt for flour and yeast for me, and offered to do pick ups or deliveries on my behalf. It was beyond amazing. People started arriving at my house with ingredients, others sent messages to offer collections, and others to offer support for what I was doing. The response was absolutely terrific!
What does this have to do with bikes? I don’t own a car for environmental reasons, which made transporting several kilograms of flour a little difficult. Cargo bikes saved the day! Bike for Good have a few of these in our fleet and very willing team members, so to the rescue came Paul and the yellow Tern cargo bike.
Hauling 32 kg’s of flour without breaking a sweat, Paul cycled from the West to the South in a flash and with a great big smile.
No one knows how long this will last. But judging by the effort of our communities, I am sure we will get through this by helping each other out.
Riding a bike is a healthy habit to keep up, and staying healthy so we can help others is the arguably the most important part. Join a group, reach out, or ask if you need help: you will be surprised how many awesome people are in Glasgow.
Words by Janie Smit, Bike for Good Volunteer Coordinator