and Planet Bike, Caring for the less fortunate

A few months ago I did some volunteering with Operation Feed the Homeless in Santa Ana, Ca. As we were passing out food and clothing for the homeless, I noticed that a majority of the recipients had bicycles. So I began talking with them and found out that bicycles were their main mode of transportation. They used bikes to get between shelters, odd jobs and to simply get around. As I got to know more of the folks I asked them what they needed when it came to their bicycles. Of course, I got a list of items they needed such as tubes, locks, lights, tires, etc.

With those items in mind I posted it on my Facebook account stating that I was thinking of trying to do something to help the less fortunate on bicycles. To my surprise, well actually I shouldn’t be surprised, our friend Chris Follmer of Planet Bike sent me a private message stating they wanted to help out as much as they could. I gladly accepted their offer and a few days later a big box arrived with a bunch of goodies. This box weighed over 41lbs and it was filled with head- and taillights, as well as locks and a few pairs of Planet Bike Wool Socks.

Fast forward to November 4th, 2012: I spent a few hours with Operation Feed The Homeless. While my wife and kids were helping with the food, I started walking around asking people who had bicycles if they needed a light or lock for their bike. At first I got some friction from people who were suspicious of my intentions. But that quickly subsided when I started offering it to others. Word spread like wildfire as more and more people started looking for me to get a lock or light.

One woman I gave items to was so grateful and thanked me profusely and she asked me how I came up with this idea because she said it was so thoughtful. I explained to her about my previous visit and saw the need. As I installed her new Planet Bike Blaze 1w headlight, she went on saying that this was so “BADASS!” and told me that she really needed the lock since she’s had 3 bikes stolen from her before and that she’s been hit by a car because she didn’t have a light. Oh and get this, the lock I gave her had keys to it. Her friend tells her that she’ll lose them (keys), she responds by saying, ” No I won’t, I’m going to make earrings out of them! That way I never forget where they are and besides, no one would ever steal earrings!” I thought her idea for the earrings were great, I think that could be a project we can write an article about.

I don’t have very many photos because I was busy helping people out, but my wife snapped a few with her phone. Besides I felt kinda weird taking pictures of me trying to do something good for others. I didn’t want to make it some sort of photo opportunity; I wanted it to be more out of my own heart rather than a publicity stunt.
planet bike blaze 1w

Here’s a gentleman who I gave a lock to as well as a light. He was recently hit by a car and the driver didn’t even stop! He was very thankful for the light and even said now he can lock up his bike without the fear that someone will steal it.
Planet bike lock

Here’s one of the guys who came chasing me to get a light and lock. Notice to the left of the photo, the person is holding a new Planet Bike lock, but you can see his old lock. It’s basically a cable with jumper cables as his padlock.
Planet Bike and

That’s about all the photos I had from my afternoon. I passed out all the Planet Bike Blaze 1w headlights, the taillights are almost gone and I still have a few locks to give out for next time. I’d like to take this time to thank our friends at Planet Bike for their generous donations of goods. The recipients were very grateful for their locks and lights. I know those items may not seem like much to some of us, but for them it helps keep them safe while riding at night as well as protect their most valued property, their bicycle.

You know what’s great about Planet Bike and this whole thing? They saw a need, stepped up and they didn’t even ask for anything in return. So if that tells you anything about their company and the people behind the products, it should help you feel good knowing that when you purchase any of their items, you’re helping support a wonderful company who have some genuine people that work there.


  1. Mike Myers

    PB puts their money where their mouths are. They donate a percentage of their profits to cycling advocacy, and they do great things like this. Good on them, and good on you and yours, RL!

    I’ve done something similar in the past. There are cheap light sets available on eBay, and I’ll occasionally buy a few and carry one with me. If I come across a cyclist with no lighting, I’ll offer it to them. Doesn’t cost me much and might save a life.

  2. Ghost Rider

    Bravo for PB, and the Policar family, and for Mike — all of these goodwill measures do make a difference…and in these cases, may actually save some lives out there.

  3. Matt

    That’s pretty awesome! PB stuff is good too – I’ve had a Blaze 1w for 3-4 years now and it’s running strong.

  4. Graham

    Planet Bike just jumped to the top of my list for bicycle vendors. Can you imagine what it would be like if every company was equally dedicated to making good products and positive social change?

    The mind boggles.

  5. bg

    I was just thinking about this. On my rides home so far this week in Colorado Springs I have seen indigent cyclists without even reflectors. As I waited for the light at an intersection I watched helplessly as a motorist missed one unlit cyclist by inches. I was thinking of maybe organizing something to help provide lights, but that’s not my forte. There are some soup kitchens and agencies that could help.

  6. bg

    On the other hand, up by the college, it’s just the invisible invincible bike ninja hipsters, too cool to take any sort of precautions.

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