Paying It Forward


I gave away this bike on Saturday.  Although it looks like an ordinary bike, this one was something special.

This bike was therapist, friend, life preserver, and constant companion for the better part of a year.  It was the reason to get out of bed in the morning and something to look forward to as I lay my head on the pillow at night.

It kept me out among the human race when I wanted to do anything but, and it provided the means to stay connected with friends.

And as it carried me through a difficult time, it also showed me how riding could change a life – for the better.  I would spend hours on this bike every day, turning the pedals, going forward.

All those hours sparked a love for riding that I could never have imagined.  There was no looking back after that.  At one time, this was the only bike I owned.  My, how times have changed.

I haven’t been on this bike in about six years.  It’s been propped against the wall in my bike room all this time, squeezed in the back by other bikes that took its place.

But it was time.  Time to pay it forward.  Time to let someone else ride it.  Because a bike is meant to be ridden, not sitting collecting dust.

And so, on Saturday, I pumped the tires and gave it a quick once-over. I wiped it down and tightened a few bolts. And then I threw my leg over one last time and sat there, remembering all the hours spent looking over those bars.

I took it to Working Bikes in Chicago.  I admire the work they do; they rescue discarded bikes and redistribute them locally and globally, changing lives in the process.  The sale proceeds from donated bikes like mine help them to remain a sustainable organization.

So I hope that whoever gets my bike enjoys it. Maybe she will ride around the city discovering hidden treasures. Or she will ride with her friends, or to the coffee shop, or to work.  Or perhaps she will even ride it during difficult times, and it will help her overcome them.

Because that’s what paying it forward is all about.

- Suzanne

  • Eric Hutchins

    Very Cool. Best thing that could have happened to that bike, and an awesome thing you did. I hope that it has a similar postive effect on its next owner.

    • suzanne deveney

      Me too Eric, thanks. Bob (previous poster) had such a great idea to leave a note…wish I had thought of that!

  • Bob Burpee

    Gereat post. Did you happen to leave a letter with the bike expressing what it meant to you for the new owner to appreciate?

    • suzanne deveney

      Wow Bob. That is such a great idea. I didn’t do that but certainly wish I had…

  • Daniel Christianson

    Great story Suzanne.
    I’ve had the same experiences/feelings about a bike, they do take on a ‘companion’ status. Im also a big fan of the bike recyclers that can now be found in just about every bigger city across the U.S., some really good things going on there.
    While other constants in my life keep changing, jobs, where I live and certainly people, I have spent enough time riding my bikes in the last ten years to realize that spending more time in the saddle would surely get me through the funk I am in right now, as it would most all of us. Such a basic prescription, and much cheaper than therapy…

    • suzanne deveney

      Hey Daniel, hope you quickly work past whatever is on your mind. Sometimes the first step is just throwing the leg over. Be well.

  • Shawn McAfee

    That’s awesome Suzanne! I’m sure you made someone’s day and hopefully it has an equally profound impact on their life as it did on yours.

    Keep riding!

    • suzanne deveney

      Thanks Shawn. I hope so too : )

  • AmandaGaleKotyk

    This brought a tear to my eye. Amazing what a bike can do….I’m sure she’ll be in good hands, and happy to be ridden again. ❤️

    • suzanne deveney

      Thanks Amanda, it did to me as well. It was hard to let this bike go (weird as that may seem). It’s tied to many memories, not all good. I hope someone else enjoys it.