FIVE THINGS WITH GORDON PARKS THE SAVANNAH BIKE COMMUTER
FIVE THINGS is a new weekly feature on the Banjo Brothers Blog. It's a short interview about life and bicycles with a notable person.This week’s FIVE THINGS is with The Savannah Bicycle Commuter, Gordon Parks. A diabetes diagnosis and a wrecked car got him off the couch and on his bike. Parks serves as a volunteer with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign’s New Standard Cycles program. He spends several hours each week reconditioning donated bicycles, which are given to deserving individuals who need safe, affordable and dependable transportation. You might also want to check out Gordon't prolific Instagram, under the handle @savannahbikecommuter. Enjoy this week’s FIVE THINGS
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
GP: I’m so glad you asked. I just made a major upgrade from a 2008 GT Transeo 3.0 to a 2012 Scott CX Team cyclocross bike. My wife rides a Motobecane Jubilee 3 speed hybrid. My son (4 years) old rides a Specialized Hotrock. He previously rode a Strider bike from the time he could walk until he was 3 and a half.. (BTW balance bikes are awesome. My son never had a bike with training wheels and was riding by himself on a pedal bike at 3 and a half. Now my little girl 1.5 years old yells at the Strider when it falls down.
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?GP: Savannah, Georgia is where I ride. Mostly to downtown tourist areas, local parks, out to eat, grocery shopping etc. We have no shame. We take our kids with us to all of these places. We ride on the road with traffic (use bike lanes when we can). We roll 2 wide and 4 deep with my son on a trail-a-bike. My wife on her bike carrying our daughter in a wee-ride. (BTW ever try to ride a bike with a wee-ride and a trail-a-bike attached?) It’s been 20 years since I last rode in an organized ride. Until last year. I took my hybrid on the 32 mile Ride for Katie Caples Foundation. That motivated me to upgrade my bike to something lighter and more capable for living and riding in Savannah. I never thought I would say this but I’m considering riding in my first cyclocross race next year. My goal is to ride and finish.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING/READING/LISTENING TOO?
Watching: The normal stuff: Stranger Things, GOT, (anything Marvel on Netflix), Sesame Street, Power Rangers. My favorite over the last year is Sense8: OMG WHYYYY Did they have to cancel that show?
Podcasts: The Moth, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History,
Books: Pete the Cat, Call of the Wild, Treasure Island (reading classics to the kids)
Blogs: Wait But Why, Tim Urban.
Music: Old School Punk Rock and 80’s pop (good pop though not the bad pop).
I love the Savannah Bicycle Campaign (SBC). The very first meeting I attended I looked around and no one was wearing any spandex. I thought to myself this is interesting, a bunch of people together who like bikes but they don’t ride competitively. It turns out they are an advocacy organization and I volunteer for them as much as possible.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU COOKING/EATING/DRINKING?
GP: Cooking: Mostly Asian fusion, Sushi, Mexican, Soups, Chicken, Turkey, Ground Beef. Depending on how my first season hunting ends, maybe some venison.
Eating: Oh we’re a fun family to cook for with issues like Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, low glycemic index food. We usually keep it fairly simple: If there is a commercial for it we don’t buy it. Stay out of the center of the grocery store. If we can pronounce it we don’t eat it. Or if it says “partially what-inated” we avoid it.
Drinking: When I drink it’s….
Beer: Out of protest, I go with the cheap stuff, anything not an IPA (my taste buds are exhausted from every small brewery trying to out hop each other.
Cider: Smith Forge Hard Cider(my wife has Celiac’s disease so if I want kiss her or have her try something I just ate/tried then I have to drink something other than beer.
Bourbon: Jim Beam.
Vodka: I used to be a Tito’s drinker, when it was $19 for a handle. Now I drink Deep Eddy’s.
Rum: We just got back from the Bahamas where we brought back four bottles of Ron Ricardo Coconut Rum. If you’ve never tried it: Sit back, close your eyes and remember what Hawaiian Tropic Suntan oil smells like. Now imagine you drink it and it tasted as awesome as it smells. Well, that ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what Ron Ricardo Coconut Rum tastes like. And you can’t buy it in the U.S. You can only buy it in the Bahamas.
BANJO BROS: WHAT’S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
GP: I’m convinced that vacuum sealed water bottles have to contain voodoo that has been sealed by witchcraft. I challenge anyone to find a more plausible explanation. The bicycle commuter tax benefit, the one they are trying to cancel now. I’ve been harassing our HR department at work for 3 years and they still won’t take advantage of this for their workers. Supposedly they want us healthier etc. this is not even enough to motivate some normal person to take advantage of and start commuting by bike but it’s enough that it might keep those going who are already commuting. Balance Bikes are amazing. Do your kid a favor and do not get them a tricycle. Get them a balance bike. Show them YouTube videos of other kids doing amazing things on the same type of bike. It will motivate them to try.
General James Edward Oglethorpe did more for cycling around Savannah with his “Oglethorpe Plan” of city squares from 1730-1785 than any Savannah City government has done in the past 200 years. I think within the last 20 years there has been 2 bike lanes added. With the decrease in available parking downtown, the increase of pedestrians and cyclists being hit you would think they could come to some consensus of something they could do other than fund another study.
I love the Savannah Bicycle Campaign (SBC)The very first meeting I attended I looked around and no one was wearing any spandex. I thought to myself this is interesting, a bunch of people together who like bikes but they don’t ride competitively. It turns out they are an advocacy organization and I volunteer for them as much as possible. If you’re ever in Savannah in the month of October you should try to make it for the Midnight Garden Ride.
New Standard Cycles (NSC) is a small arm of the SBC. They seek donations of older brand name bikes that they refurbish. They work with the local shelters and other refugee organizations that identify people that are in need of a bike as a main source of transportation. Those organizations pass the information to NSC and the bike, helmet, bike lights, lock and a quick safety course are distributed. September begins the children's bike drive. Last year 53 bikes were refurbished and donated to local children.
I took my new (to me) bike out for its maiden voyage on Thanksgiving Day on U.S. Hwy 30a in Seagrove Beach, FL. At the halfway point I rounded the corner to cross a covered bridge and see an older guy passed out next to his bike and another man kneeling over him with his phone looking panicked. He was riding with the older guy when he complained of chest pains and collapsed. He appeared unconscious for a moment but then I noticed him turning purple. I couldn’t remember my CPR it had been so long but I couldn’t do nothing. I could tell by the reactions of the guy on his phone that he didn’t know it either. The other guy reached for his mouth tongue and there didn’t appear to be anything in there. He then tried to give him a breath (but forgot to pinch-off his nose). I decided that I need to do something. Sitting there wasn’t going to help so I gave two pumps to his chest. I swear I felt his ribs crack. This guy was like 80yrs old.. I had visions of his bones crumbling to powder because of what I just did. After seeing the other guy forget to pinch-off his nose I stepped up and put my mouth on him and gave him two of the deepest breaths that i could. I looked up and saw a Sheriff's car drive by. I jumped up and chased him down. He soon regained consciousness. I don’t know whether it was from our actions or the random lady that walked up with a nitroglycerin pill or all of the above. The old guy was disoriented and stressed but he was talking by the time the 2nd police officer arrived. So I hope that someday when you round the corner and see me laying on the road you pay it forward. Brush up on your CPR.
MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERS
A big Banjo Bros. thank you to Gordon Parks for participating in this week's edition of Banjo Brothers' Five Things. These short interviews about life and bicycles will appear every Friday on the Banjo Brothers Blog.
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