Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bike for a Cuban - DELIVERED

Some of you may remember the post I did back in February 2009 about trying to get one of the Cuban National Team guys (Lisuandy Alonso), whom I met at the Tour of San Luis in Argentina a bike.

Basically I got an e-mail from a buddy of mine who owns a bike shop in Mill Valley (a little place I like to call heaven on earth) while at the race talking about this picture he saw of a Cuban guy riding an old Scott at the Tour of San Luis. I had been talking to him that very day and Chad and I decided we'd get this guy a new bike. A few folks pitched in some cash and a few others helped securing the bike and bingo we were good to go. Getting the bike was the easy part. We had it in about a month or two. The hard part was getting the bike into Cuba.

We tried finding people going to Cuba that could take it. That wasn't so easy but finally through a Cuban mechanic at Strictly Bicycles who was traveling back to Cuba we were able to get the bike there. Or so we thought. The bike was driven to Canada (flight was leaving from there) only to find out that it would cost $900 to get the it on the plane. So it set in a parked car in the parking lot for the next 10 days. Then it was back to New York.

I promised friends a plane ticket if they were willing to take the bike to Cuba but had no takers. I almost got on a plane myself to deliver it but couldn't really take a week to do it and I thought that if I showed up with a bike in Cuba with a return ticket for the next day it might be a little too suspicious.

Finally through the good graces of my buddy Andy Guptil we were able to get the bike to Argentina for the 2010 Tour of San Luis and then the Cuban national team took the bike back to Cuba to give to Lisuandy this February. Here are some pictures that were just sent to me of Lisuandy, his family and the his new bike. Not sure how I feel about the open jersey on the podium though.

There's a lesson here. Persistence pays off just keep moving the ball forward.