Member Stories

Neighbors Come Together to Help Community’s “Bicycle Man”

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Written by Anne Dreshfield

When Ramona, a neighbor in Houston, saw a police car escorting an older man home on his bicycle, she did a double take.

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Ray and his new tricycle out in the neighborhood. Photo courtesy of the Houston Chronicle.

The man on the bicycle was thin, and she knew from his slow pedaling that it was an individual everyone in her neighborhood would recognize: Richard Perry, a kind man who often sang on their neighborhood’s sidewalks and was known for picking up scraps of recycling. He was never without his bicycle – many in the neighborhood called him “Ray, the Bicycle Man.”

Ramona turned to her neighborhood’s Nextdoor website, describing what she’d seen, calling Ray a “gentle, kind human being.” She said he often stopped to talk with neighbors, remembered their names, and promised to pray for them as he hunted for discarded metal to recycle.

“Ray would never hurt a fly, let alone a person,” Ramona says. “He’s been robbed of his bicycle and aluminum metals several times and beat up.” She asked her neighbors to look out for him.

Her neighbors’ responses were overwhelming. Within a day, Ramona said she received more than 150 thanks, comments, and messages from neighbors wanting to help Ray. Their suggestions ranged from purchasing him a new bike to buying him a “meal plan” at a local restaurant. One neighbor offered to donate a Schwinn tricycle for him.

Together, neighbors repaired and painted the trike, etching Ray’s name on every piece of it.
One neighbor offered to refurbish the tricycle, while another offered to store it at his car shop. Together, neighbors repaired the trike, painted it, and etched Ray’s name on every piece of it.

As for Ray, he was thankful for his new set of wheels. He’d previously used a trike to collect recycling to sell. “When you’re carrying a heavy load on a two-wheeler bike, it turns everything over in the middle of the street,” he says. “And that ain’t no fun, picking all that up.”

And neighbors didn’t stop there: they went so far as to install a sturdy post with a lock and chain in the yard in front of Ray’s home, where he lives with his mother and several others. This time, they hope, his beloved bike will stay put.

As reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Do you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

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