Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Profile: The Wheel Deal: Joe O'Grady Teaches Kids about Bikes and Being a Better Person

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Profile: The Wheel Deal: Joe O'Grady Teaches Kids about Bikes and Being a Better Person

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FOR SOMEONE who had an artificial hip replacement in his 20s, Joe O'Grady doesn't know how to slow down. A lifelong bicyclist, he is focusing his passion for cycling on a program to help children learn bike safety and repair in Bakersfield, Calif., through a program called Build-A-Bike. Now in its fourth year, O'Grady works with four kids at a time, teaching them the basics of changing a chain, repairing flat tires, and even teaching them about tools.

"Their enthusiasm is incredible and it astonishes me," says O'Grady. "The kids are just so inspiring."

The same could be said for 57-year-old O'Grady himself, says Bakersfield Recreation Supervisor Linda McVicker. She says that O'Grady is one of the reasons the program is so popular. "He's like the piped piper," she says. "Kids see him coming and they race after him. He really cares about the children, and they see his enthusiasm both for biking and for them."

McVicker says the park and recreation department started the program when staff noticed that many of the children who came to the Martin Luther King Community Center walked there. …

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