Bikes for the World

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Featured Volunteer: Marty Reisinger

Marty "McFly" Reisinger doesn't drive a DeLorean but he is taking us back in time as we take a look at how this month's Featured Volunteer got his start collecting bikes for Bikes for the World.

Let's set our time machine's Destination Time to 1992, long before BfW's start in 2005. When Marty's daughter Emma was born he was faced with a decision many of us struggle with...what to do with the old 'bachelor' bike.

At the time Marty was riding an old 1972 Schwinn Continental. He still remembers it well. The college commutes, summer trips to the beach, the gas shortage of the 70s....it served him well, but it was time to switch over to a "daddy" bike, something sturdy enough to carry his daughter on back. Twenty years is a long time to hang on to a bike; while there were still years left in it, it was time for an upgrade.

And so Marty donated his beloved Schwinn to an organization sending bikes overseas. He loved the idea. He even helped arrange some free and discounted shipping for the group with Sea-Land since he was very familiar with the complexities of moving goods while working at CSX Intermodal.

Now, let's accelerate (88 MPH to be exact) to engage our flux capacitor to take us to 2005. Marty learned about Bikes for the World, approached Director Keith Oberg, and started collecting bikes for us through his church St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lutherville.

It's hard to say how many bikes Marty has collected over the years. He's worked with St. Paul's and the neighborhood bike shop Lutherville Bikes. He's also stepped up and managed events at REI Timonium, even when they fell on Father's Day. Let's just say Marty has helped bring well over 500 bikes into our warehouse over the last ten years.

Literally. There was one year when Keith was in a jam and asked Marty to drive a box truck filled with bikes to a warehouse in DC. Marty made it all the way into the city when he found himself surrounded by police cars in front of the Capitol. A suspicious U-Haul circling a no truck zone near the Capitol can be cause for alarm in DC. Surely Marty was wishing for a DeLorean to take him away at that precise moment, but he managed to talk himself out of jail time and eventually made his way to the warehouse. There is no record of him ever delivering bikes again, however. :)

It's clear to see the dedication Marty brings to Bikes for the World. He likes the work and enjoys talking with donors. He remembers one family that donated seven bikes at a collection he was managing at REI. They shared stories with him about the bikes and took photos before finally turning them over to the collection. A struggle to part with an 'old friend', Marty knows all too well.

Giving folks an option that can help change lives often gives them the strength to let go of an old bike. And those bikes at REI, one of them was Abbey's childhood bike. It was shipped to Costa Rica as our 70,000th bike donated. We tracked it from our warehouse in Rockville all the way to Costa Rica. It's now providing enjoyment to a new child in Costa Rica. Something Abbey and Marty are proud to be part of.

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