Meet Molly. She was my final free local Pedal Power with Pattie student. She runs an annual bike ride to raise awareness of addiction in memory of her son, Patrick, who died of an opioid overdose. In addition to the ride, called Pedal for P Man, the organization works with group homes for those battling addiction, including several in the suburb-city where I live. She would like to work with more places to help more people “choose life,” and I told her how there have been numerous in-depth feature stories in my local newspaper about how the opioid crisis has hit our suburbs. Plus, John Heneghan, a city councilor where I live, has written about it on his blog (here is the latest).
Back home after the class, my curiosity piqued, I searched for her son’s obituary and saw that in lieu of flowers, donations were requested to be made to Malachi’s Storehouse, the food pantry where I had helped start a food garden seven years ago, where we planted and watered and harvested with the food pantry clients every single Wednesday. Young men from a group home had worked together with us there on numerous occasions. Had Patrick and I crossed paths? I don’t know.
That food pantry is directly across the street from three parks connected by a multiuse trail, about which Molly didn’t know until I told her (not yet knowing about the food pantry connection). She had been wondering if it made sense in car-centric Dunwoody to give the group home bikes for the young men to repair with expert guidance, and to use as a healthy outlet. She had talked with SOPO, a bike co-op where my friend and fellow League Cycling Instructor Kartapreet is on the board of directors, and she says they mentioned “a man named Jon who fixes bikes.” That has to be my friend Big Jon, the man who gave me Magic!!!! (That’s in my book.)
So maybe there is some Greater Power at work here. Maybe me meeting Molly, and Molly meeting me, was not a coincidence. Maybe there’s some way I can help, even if it’s just to make a connection or to share a story. Maybe this is a reminder, as always, to trust the journey. And maybe you who are taking the moments to read this have a place in this story moving forward.
Guess what, folks? It’s never just about bikes.