We have been on the road as full-time RV travelers with our dogs for more than three years.
We have spent much of our time and focus on animal rescue for over eight years. And as you can imagine, we have seen the worst but also the best in people.
Often, those involved in animal rescue experience burnout. We give all of ourselves, including our time, finances and emotional well-being to do our part for the big picture. We’ve been there. And we go “there” quite often.
So during one of our recent burnout episodes, we realized that we needed some downtime, but probably not in the way most people would relax. We had carried around our bikes for three years, and had probably rode them three times at most.
We decided that since we were on the beach and at a campground with great trails, that we should get some fun time scheduled in. But after looking at our bikes, we realized they needed some help and repairs. And it just wasn’t what we had time to do. We thought about purchasing some bikes as a treat to ourselves and to help us get exercise to keep our minds positively and focused.
It was around this time that we were driving and saw people and their need for food and money, with pleas on signs, held up for all to see in the hot, Florida sun. All of a sudden, I had a huge wave of guilt. If I saw a homeless animal hungry that needed help on the side of the road, I would stop. I would try to find some way to help. Some way! What made me turn away from people in the same situation? And although we have spent many years advocating for animal rescue, I knew was missing something here.
It certainly made me think about my current priority of buying a bike. But I also had a thought. What if we could somehow donate our bikes to someone in need? Was this possible, and how could this make a difference? I immediately researched how to donate used bikes. I found an organization in the area called the Sulzbacher Center. According to their website, “Three thousand of our neighbors— men, women and children—are homeless every night in Jacksonville. Each one has an immediate need for food and shelter. But just as important each one deserves the opportunity to achieve a better life with a home of their own, an income to live on and access to health care. Sulzbacher provides programs that transform lives. In the process, we create a better city for all of us.”
I researched different programs and found my answer to donating our bikes. I found out about a program called Jax RECycle started by Rick Patterson. He started Jax RECycle in 2008, and since then he said the group has fixed about 500 bikes for the Sulzbacher Center and other organizations for the homeless in Jacksonville, Florida. In cooperation with a local bike shop called ZenCog, people can donate their used bikes any day of the week and the bikes are brought back to glory to make a huge difference for those in need. How?
By providing transportation, this can enable someone to get a job, secure enjoyment, build their confidence and more. I knew we had to do this. And I knew there must be a bike company out there that wanted to be involved in our project. I contacted Mongoose Bikes!
And without a moment’s hesitation, we agreed to work together to educate others on how they can make a difference by donating their old bikes. But why would our readers be interested in this when we are all devoted animal lovers?
We spent our time and resources to visit 48 animal shelters and rescues across the United States. But our goal was not only to get animals seen in order to be adopted, but to show the good people doing great things for animals.
These people had a fun side, and we did little game shows and interviews. Our goal was to be positive and encourage. But we ended up being encouraged. Many of these volunteers and rescuers had found “their calling” helping animals after being discouraged and down themselves. We saw shelters working with prisons to train their adoptables. We saw children in need being given a sense of accomplishment by reading to shelter animals. We saw shelters with food banks giving food to people and their animals. And we were struck by all of this! I had been missing something very important. If people who need help are not encouraged or made to feel valued, will they treat an animal any different? Probably not.
We cannot show kindness only to animals and expect the big picture to change. People need rescuing too.
And although each one of us can’t do it all, we can set small examples and take part in small acts of kindness that can change the path for someone in need. And this could possibly lead them on a new path of not only bettering their lives, but for animals too.
Programs to help the less fortunate are different dependent on the area you live in. All of our circumstances are different too. We may not be able to donate monetarily, but do we have an item or resource we could give like our used bikes?
This project felt so good to us. First, we found a way to help people on the road to a better life. But we also were encouraged that we found a company that cared too. Not only did Mongoose care about helping people. But because they provided us with bikes to keep active and stay fit to keep helping others, they showed that they cared for animals too. Thank you to Mongoose Bikes and also Schwinn who hooked up our senior boys with some pretty cool dog trailers!
Keep reading below to see Brickle and Digby’s favorite bikes!
And let us know in the comment section below and on social media where you live and what programs exist to help people. Always remember…kindness extends to all individuals, those with fur and without! Those who can ride bikes and those who ride along!
Co-founder of 2 Traveling Dogs
Brickle’s Mongoose Bike Pick: Teocali Expert
This is Sheriff Brickle. Life is an adventure. Some days you climb mountains. ⛰ Some days you speed downhill. If I could tackle life on a bike, I would pick this one! Boy Person has always loved exercise and adventure, but it’s hard to find the time between work, animal rescue and taking care of me and Digby. That’s why he was so excited that Mongoose Bicycles provided him with a way to stay mentally happy and physically healthy. This is the Mongoose Teocali Expert for uphill and downhill adventures and more! Mongoose has bikes for every price range and activity level. We thank Mongoose for partnering with us as we donated our used bicycles in order to enable those in need to get transportation to work and get their lives back on track! What can you do to make a difference? Look up homeless programs where YOU live and tell us about them! After all, it’s people who help animals. And kindness should be extended to all individuals.
This is Digby Pancake. Since the persons donated their bikes to a local bike shop to be fixed up for the homeless shelter, they looked for bikes that would help them too. Girl Person said that in between work and animal rescue, she needs time to clear her mind and get her heart pumping! If she doesn’t take care of herself and her health, she can’t help anyone else, and she definitely can’t make me pancakes. I really like her new bike. It has fat tires and a pretty paint job and she says it rides as smooth on the beach as a melted slab of butter. If there was ever a bike that I liked, it would have to be the fat tire bike called the Argus Comp from Mongoose Bicycles! You can find it at www.mongoose.com and tell them Digby Pancake sent you.
This blog was sponsored by Mongoose, and we received bicycles. All opinions are our own.