By Kevin Dwyer
The Bicycle Collective is devoting this month’s column to honoring one of our greatest benefactors, Bill Delvie. As The Bicycle Collective approaches it 10 year anniversary party (The Bicycle Prom June 2, 2012), we’ve had the opportunity to reflect and recognize those who conceived of the project and keep it running. While some of these individuals are highly visible, many volunteers and other supporters operate behind the scenes supporting this resource. There is probably no greater anonymous supporter than Bill Delvie, who recently passed away March 19, 2012 at age 85.
Bill was certainly a renaissance man, performing as a professional Vaudeville musician, travelling the world and operating his own business, Delvie Plastics. At age 60, Bill became fascinated by China’s opening up to the west and undertook learning the Mandarin language. Bill toured China and many countries by bicycle, moving China in 2007 in anticipation of the Beijing Olympics.
Reading about a Chinese business person that desired to set up a bicycle rental operation during the Olympics, Bill jumped on board, assisting Wang Yong in opening the rental system specially marketed to tourists. In this position, at age 80, Bill was working part time in the bike shop and lobbying the local government to support green initiatives, while riding his bike every day. Bill’s generous spirit was truly contagious and, recognized, when he was nominated as an Olympic torch bearer, in part because of his work with and support for a Chinese orphanage.
The Bicycle Collective has benefitted from Bill’s generosity through its operations at the 2312 S. West Temple Salt Lake City location, which Bill made available to the Collective after hearing about the organization at an Exchange Club meeting. Our home location has been a tremendous resource in supporting a variety of functions and activities. During the May Bike Month, I’d suggest that all of us pick up the spirit of Bill, ride a route you’ve not gone before and give back to the cycling community, quietly and significantly. Check in with the Bicycle Collective (http://www.bicyclecollective.org/), if you need help making that happen.
The mission of the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective is to promote cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier, and safer society. The Bicycle Collective provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to the community, focusing on children and lower income households.