North Bay Spirit Award winner offering dozens of free bikes for kids
WWhenever David Maciel faced hardships in his life, he would jump on his blue racing bike and let the noise of the world slip away behind him.
âThe bike makes you forget what bothers you, takes you to a happy place,â Maciel said. âThen you can think about the things, all of the ‘what ifs’ in life. “
For the retired electronics salesman of Cloverdale, a tight-knit town of less than 9,000 people, cycling has helped him get through uncertain times – between jobs, while making important decisions in life and in life. following the death of his father when Maciel was only 19 years old.
Riding a bicycle also reminds him of his childhood, a more carefree time when he would go on an adventure around the neighborhood and tinker with bikes outside his family’s house in Tracy, learning how to take them apart and put them back together.
Cycling has brought him respite and joy, and now Maciel is pouring that joy into his community through the charity he started this year, Second Life Bicycle Rescue. He collects donations of second-hand bikes that require little maintenance, repairs them in his garage, and gives them free to children in need, whose families cannot afford.
In the past seven months, Maciel has collected nearly 100 bikes and gifted 80 to their new owners.
For his generosity and dedication to his community, Maciel was selected to receive the North Bay Spirit Award in September. A joint project of The Press Democrat and Comcast, the award highlights volunteers who demonstrate exceptional initiative for a cause, often identifying a need in the community and finding an enterprising way to fill it.
âWhen I watch a toddler jump on a bike I just fixed and go,â said Maciel, âI think about all the times they’ll have with that bike – the fun, the thrill and the adventure they’ll have with that bike. ‘they will live to have with that.
A second life and a home
In January, while browsing the Cloverdale community Facebook page, Maciel came across an article about two bikes someone was giving away for free.
At that point, he decided to collect the owner’s two bikes, repair them and hand them over to children whose families were weighed down by financial burdens during the pandemic.
âPeople were depressed, stuck at home and in financial trouble. My community was really suffering, âMaciel said. âI wanted to bring some light back into their lives. “
He repaired the first bike, which he called “Red Rocket”, and gave it to a 4 year old boy. The second, a white BMX bike, which he repaired and gave to a 7-year-old boy.
Maciel posted pictures of the recently repaired bikes with the kids on the Facebook page and tagged the original owner.
âI want people to know who their donated bikes are going to,â Maciel said. âI think people want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
The posts turned the wheels. What followed was a bigger response than Maciel had imagined.
A few weeks after these first two donations, Maciel had received several messages from people wishing to donate bikes and from parents looking for bikes for their children. Donations continued to flow.
He realized he could use financial assistance to continue purchasing the parts he needed – seats, chains, handlebars – for the renovations. So he launched a GoFundMe, which only added to the momentum. In March, members of the community had flocked with donations of money or with their used bicycles.
âThis community put their arms around me and started giving me bikes like crazy,â Maciel said with a chuckle. âIt got to the point where the bikes couldn’t fit into my garage anymore. I had to get myself a storage unit.
Now he collects the owners’ used bikes, repairs them and gives them to the kids at a drop-off point near the storage unit in Cloverdale.
âMy favorite thing about giving them to kids is seeing their faces,â Maciel said.
People love what Maciel does so much that they help him in any way they can.
In March, a Cloverdale resident noticed Maciel’s posts on the community’s Facebook page and searched for free bikes on Cloverdale and Craigslist. When he collected 10 bikes, he contacted Maciel to donate them.
âI just wanted to be a part of it,â said volunteer Charlie Delfino. âThese kids were stuck at home for a year, so seeing the smiles on their faces was something special. David has a huge impact on this community.