Man who rides 8 miles to work gets new, upgraded bicycle from community day after Christmas

Ama Nunoo Dec 30, 2020 at 03:00pm

December 30, 2020 at 03:00 pm | News

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

December 30, 2020 at 03:00 pm | News

Kenny Randolph with his new Phat Bike amid his friends. Photo: KCCI

It is so lovely when a community rally together to support one of their own regardless of their sex, race or color. The people of Ankeny, Iowa set up a GoFundMe to buy a bicycle for Kenny Randolph who cycles to work in Des Moines with a worn-out bicycle.

Erin Van Dorn, who is also a cyclist and Randolph’s neighbor, noticed how dangerous it was for him to ride in the dark for 8 miles without a helmet and decided it was about time Randolph got a new bike.

“I commute up 2nd Avenue in the morning, and it’s dark. I noticed often that Kenny was riding alongside the road with no helmet, and the lights weren’t on,” said Van Dorn to KCCI. “We bike, and so we understand safety. It concerned me.”

So, the morning after Christmas, Van Dorn and her husband, Eric, took Randolph to Bike World to check out some bicycles, but he did not have any idea of the plans they had for him. He walked around the shop and picked one of the bikes out for a 10-minute test drive.

Randolph was in shock when it was disclosed to him that the Phat bike he had just taken for a ride was his to keep.

He often rides his rickety bike along 2nd Avenue to Firestone, Des Moines for his 12-hour shift and leaves early before the sun comes out. He had no clue people cared enough to mobilize funds to purchase a new bike for him.

“I don’t even know where to start,” said Randolph on Saturday. “I didn’t think anybody would do this for me.”

This is not the first time Van Dorn has tried to make Randolph’s commute to work better. She and some of her friends once rallied together to buy some protective gear for him. Then along the line, the friendship between Randolph, Van Dorn and Eric blossomed. That is how they got him to Bike World in November for the first time.

With the help of Jeremy Davis who had never set up a GoFundMe before, a crowd funder was set up and shared onto the Ankeny Facebook group. Donations started pouring in from people who had either seen him riding to work or people who knew him from the neighborhood.

They were able to raise $1,200 but it was not enough to buy the Phat bike. The Bike World team topped up to get him the bike he needed. According to Bif Ridgeway, the Phat bike is a perfect fit for Randolph who rides practically all year to work.

“So for someone like Kenny — where he’s riding all year long and the snow that we’re going to get here this week — he’ll be able to ride through anything with that bike.”

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