By Alison Rooney
Since our original story on Guinan’s Aurora was published July 19, 2011, Jay Vitale’s search for a storage home for all the donated bicycles has proved successful: He now has the use of a barn on Pat O’Dell’s Old Albany Post Road property as well as space at Ken Rhodes’ place on Indian Brook Road — space he is very grateful for, as the continued person-to-person recycling of bicycles keeps on going.
Recently, Vitale has facilitated the donation of over 65 bikes to the Fresh Air Fund organization, Cystic Fibrosis, and to Dutchess Social Services. In December, he was off to bring 15 bikes to veterans at the Montrose Common Ground facility.
Vitale has been able to provide bikes to Army and Marine veterans and is about to add the Coast Guard. He also has “a dozen ready to go to New York City, a place called Bronx Works — we were happy that the Fresh Air Fund recommended us.” Word continues to spread through Guinan’s Aurora’s Facebook page and webpage, guinansaurora.org, and donations are steady.
He is moved by donors and recipients alike, relating that “a lady called from Connecticut; she had read about us and asked us to come to her house. When I got there she had six bikes for me. She had a 50-acre horse farm, a barn, stables and she was losing it all because of the economy, but she went out and gave me six beautiful bicycles.” He added, “The recipients get me every time.”
Vitale takes care to only give away “beautiful bikes.” He’ll take “anything with wheels, pedals, a seat,” but will break bikes down for parts rather than give anything away that looks less than perfect. For anyone doing a New Year’s cleaning of attic or garage: Please donate your bikes. Vitale can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone, 845-424-6078 — phone is best.