Tough Kids: Part 4
Schooling, Mike wrote:
So, how were the last 38 hours for you? Been interesting, huh?
Tuesday, May 29
6:30pm – I arrive at the Matthews Bldg to help unload the bikes to find Marc Delametter with a downcast look on his face … “Mike, the bikes have been stolen.” Much discussion, gnashing of teeth, etc., etc.
7:30pm – Back at the office composing an email to this distribution to say, “Hold what’ya got …”
9:00pm – Watch the news on Fox 23 to see their report on the theft.
Wednesday, May 31
7:45am – Begin flurry of emails related to “what now?” Respond to emails from many of you related to “what now?” Ponder to myself, “what now?”
9:10am – Suggest to Tulsa Tough committee getting the word out to bike groups to keep an eye out for the bikes (6 emails in about 20 minutes).
12:45pm – Get League of American Bicyclists onboard to help get the word out. Prepare contact list for other cycling organizations and clubs to notify.
2:30pm – On the phone with Ren Barger at Lee’s helping with plans to get folks together to get loaner bikes in shape for use Sunday. Will involve evenings at Lee’s, folks to deliver bikes early Sunday morning to Riverside, yadda, yadda …
2:45pm – Hang up the phone with Ren, check email and find message from Malcolm, the bikes have been found! Another flurry of emails ensues …
3:32pm – Send email to this distribution, “The Build is On.”
4:50pm – Leave work, pick up remaining supplies needed for build, change clothes, head for the Matthews Building.
7:??pm – Arrive at Matthews Bldg, start to unload, engage folks to assist as they begin to arrive. Excitement and the crowd build steadily.
8:00pm – Malcolm addresses the assembled group. Truck driver has been in contact and should arrive at 8:30pm.
8:30pm – Malcolm gets call from truck driver; he’s exiting 244 on Cincinnati! The excitement builds as all watch the truck come down the street and maneuver into the Matthews Bldg loading dock.
8:50pm – Container doors are opened and we see the bike boxes for the first time.
9:00pm – All is ready, paperwork needs determined, “counters” stationed at the container doors to inventory boxes as they’re removed from the truck, and the first box is taken out of the truck, opened, and the very first unassembled bike is handed to the first assembly team to begin work.
The next 15 minutes are a blur of activity as the container is unloaded and assembly teams, from 20 to 24 teams at different times during the evening, begin unboxing bikes, mounting them in repair stands, and putting them together.
The container is emptied and the truck driver is out the door and on his way back to Dallas … so long … while bike assembly magic is performed by the cadre of cyclists, spouses, kids, and friends fluctuating throughout the evening from over 50 to near 70 at the end of the evening.
I see a cyclist ride in off the street, all spokes and spandex, and he joins in. Everyone is sweating and smiling as one bike after another is completed, passed to the “Pros” from Lee’s and Tom’s for a last check, then ridden off the assembly floor to the lower level where Kathy patiently stacks the bikes in size specific rows; small, medium, large.
As the assembly teams hit their stride five to seven volunteers are kept busy removing empty boxes and related trash from the assembly floor to an area where they’re stacked for recycling. They also deliver fresh bikes in boxes to the assembly teams and distribute water, Gatorade, and snacks to those willing to take a break in the assembly efforts. Everyone is soaked with sweat, but still smiling.
I make an attempt to track progress on a half-hourly basis and post the information on a tally board for all to see (and later marvel at) as first 52 bikes are complete or near completion at 9:35pm, then at 10pm the completed total jumps to the mid-70’s until at 10:30pm we have 175 fully assembled and neatly stacked custom Schwinn bicycles in the lower level of the Matthews Bldg … awesome!
11:16pm – The last fully assembled bike is rolled down the ramp to take it’s place among the other 295 already completed … 296 brand new custom Schwinn bicycles ready and waiting for eager teens to pick up on Saturday and ride leading tour participants on Sunday morning. 296 of what had been a container of 306 before the theft … only 10 bikes were taken!
11:20pm – Group photo taken with abundant smiling, back slapping, high-fiving, hugging, and general euphoria ensues. Folks gather their tools, repair stands, and assorted paraphernalia as they depart, sweat-soaked and smiling.
11:45pm – The Matthews building is EMPTY again, floor clean, all equipment removed, my van’s loaded and I pull away from the building headed for home. Stop at WhatABurger on Peoria for a chocolate shake … ummmmm!!! Only thing I’ve had since lunch other than one piece of pizza grabbed mid-mayhem.
11:55pm – Home, share brief recap with awakened wife (today is our 32nd anniversary!), take a relaxing shower, crawl into bed clean, relaxed, ready for the sleep of the righteous … glance at the alarm clock … 12:32pm.
Not a bad day!!!
To all of you who participated or supported our efforts in spirit, thank you for coming together in a spirit of cooperation and caring. We all did a wonderful thing; can’t wait to see the picture of the new bikes, young riders in the saddle, leading the tour down Riverside on Sunday morning (won’t be able to watch in person; I’ll be out on the route coordinating mechanical support with another group of wonderful volunteers, Team Wrench!). Hope you all had a big grin on your faces this morning when you looked in the mirror … I sure did.
Okay, a little administrivia …
Unbelievably, we only had one item in the “lost and found” category when the dust settled on an empty Matthews Building. Someone got away without their Topeak Joe Blow tire pump. You can pick it up at the Matthews Bldg on Saturday while you’re down watching the races! If anyone else lost or found something, let me know and we’ll try to get folks reconnected with their tools and whatever else may have been misplaced. If one pump is all that was mislaid, that’s almost as much a miracle as the assembly efforts themselves!
Finally, the barely-controlled anarchy that enabled this effort to take place last night found me not getting an accurate list of participants. That said, take a look at the list of volunteers below, and if you or someone you know isn’t listed, PLEASE let me know and provide me contact info for them as well. I don’t want anyone to be left out. I’m also including Malcolm’s earlier tally of interesting “factoids” from the effort. And I want to be sure to note that at least one other group was represented last night but not part of Malcolm’s list; the Tulsa Area Triathletes. If there were members of other groups, let me know – we will leave no individual or group unrecognized! The assembly group was an amalgamation of just about every group of cycling-interested folks in the Tulsa Area … almost makes me tear up!
Okay … run the credits !!!!!!!! Roll’em
OPERATION BUILD-A-BIKE BY THE NUMBERS … factoids …
Container in Mathews building at 9:00 p.m.
Bikes completed at 11:21 p.m.
Total volunteers present: 70+ at the peak
American Airlines MS150 Cyclists and Friends: Appx. 25
Television Stations Present: 4
Newspapers present: 1
Bikes completed: 296
Avg. production of assembly line: One bike every 26.5 seconds
Person-hours of labor: 150+
Bike Shops represented: Lee's/Trek, Tom's Bicycles
Clubs Represented: Tulsa Wheelmen, Tulsa Bicycle Club, Sound Pony, Mercy Cycling, Team Power Train, Bicycles of Tulsa, Tulsa Area Triathletes, American Airlines cyclists and friends!
PARTICIPANTS (the ones I know of … help me assemble a complete list by emailing me the names and contact info of those I missed … don’t want to leave anyone out!!! I’ve only got 57 names here and I’m sure there were many more.):