The Zebra calls on everyone to support Del Ray business owner and community backer Christian Myers of the VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative by showing up at Pork Barrel BBQ’s “Support Your Local Bike Guy” fundraising dinner and raffle event on Monday, February 4, starting at 7:00 p.m.
Last October, Christian Myers of VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. The bike guru known for an outgoing personality and ability to connect with youth is being tested by the biggest problem in his life. But it isn’t taking him down.
The Del Ray Business Association (DRBA) immediately created a GoFundMe campaign to “Help Christian Kick Cancer” with a goal of $5,000 to contribute toward Myers’ mounting medical bills. As of Saturday, February 2, Myers’ GoFundMe campaign had surpassed its goal at $5,140! But this amount will barely make a dent in the costs, so the DRBA has arranged a dinner and silent auction to raise an additional $5,000.
The “Support Your Local Bike Guy” dinner and silent auction fundraiser will be held at Pork Barrel BBQ, 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, on Monday, February 4, starting at 7:00 p.m.
Don’t know VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative?
Current VéloCity Board Chairman Joe Davison describes it as: “a DIY bike shop where you bring in your bike and volunteers teach you how to fix bikes,” but also a “traditional bike shop” that sells bikes, parts, and accessories.
Founded in 2010 by Christian Myers and John Patterson, the original business concept involved rickshaws. Patterson wanted someone to operate the rickshaws as a business. Myers refused to operate the rickshaws but offered to fix them instead. After a series of conversations, Myers convinced Patterson to replace the rickshaw concept with an innovation not yet present in Alexandria: a bicycle coop.
VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative is located at 2111 Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. Its mission is to create and nurture a community of bicycle enthusiasts. Toward that goal, VéloCity offers bicycle repair and tune-up service, and DIY repair workshops for adults, asking a $15 donation per hour. It has also implemented several charitable programs, such as:
Teen Earn-A-Bicycle: VéloCity gives Alexandria City Public School teenage students the opportunity to work at the VéloCity bike shop for 20 hours. Upon successful completion of the program, VéloCity allows the students to “purchase for free” a refurbished bike, lock and helmet.
Summer Internships: Through Alexandria’s TeenWorks! Program, VéloCity offers internships to teens who “may lack a support network and find impediments to employment.” Myers focuses on youth programs, believing that working with teens is more than just teaching them “bike things. I want to instill life lessons in them. People are surprised I incorporate hidden mathematics, like teaching the kids about gear ratios.”
Christian Myers is keenly aware of all the support he has received from the Del Ray community. “[Del Ray is] a small community. We all look out after each other. This is a tight-knit community of independent businesses,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to several people who have been the frontrunners in DRBA’s campaign to “Help Christian Kick Cancer.” Pork Barrel BBQ’s Bill Blackburn, DRBA President Sue Kovalsky, long-time VéloCity customer Lindsay Nelson, and Del Ray activist Pat Miller have been instrumental in initiating fundraisers and corralling community support.
Soon after his diagnosis, Myers became unable to carry a regular workload or support his family due to the effects of chemotherapy. Nelson and Miller moved quickly to raise funds for this local Alexandrian who has already committed so much energy, passion, time and dedication to youth in the community. Lindsay Nelson echoed Myers’ statements, noting that “Del Ray gives back to the community.”