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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

City of Davis rights a wrong

When Alyssa Chrisman stopped in Davis during her 4,200-mile charity bike ride, she never expected that it would change her entire journey.

Chrisman was riding her bike from South Carolina to Santa Cruz, Calif. to raise funds for the nonprofit organization, Bike & Build. She and her fellow riders stopped in Downtown Davis to see the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and museum. When she came back out she saw that her $1,500 bike had been stolen.

Although she was able to find a replacement bike from the Davis Bike Collective to finish her tour, the Davis community felt something should be done about this injustice.
“I saw the article in the [Davis] Enterprise and just thought, there’s no way we can let this girl leave town without getting her a new bike,” said Davis resident Tracy Harris.
Chrisman joined the bike tour as a way to raise awareness for affordable housing though Bike & Build. This organization plans cross-country cycling trips in order to raise money for affordable housing. Once the city learned about Chrisman and Bike & Build, they decided something had to be done to help her reach her goal.
“Alyssa and her Bike & Build friends so purely represent what Davis is all about. Individual action to make a difference, support for affordable housing and using bikes as a more social form of transportation to unite and interact,” said Mayor Joe Krovoza. “So once we heard that her time in Davis went sour in the most bike-friendly community in the U.S, and a community that passionately supports affordable housing, we just had to right the wrong.”
After Chrisman reached Santa Cruz and completed her tour she returned home to Michigan to complete her senior year at Central Michigan University. Currently she is student teaching and will graduate in December with a degree in English and teaching.

Meanwhile, Krovoza and Harris came up with the idea to send Chrisman a new bike, one just like the one what was stolen. They started raising money.

Once Giant Bicycles heard Chrisman’s story from Kevin Hein of the The Freewheeler Bicycle Center, and read the e-mails between her parents and Harris, they decided to donate a replica of Chrisman’s bike. Chrisman was “speechless” when she first got news of this.

“The Davis community’s efforts in replacing my bicycle and raising awareness about affordable housing have overwhelmed me with happiness. I couldn’t believe that a community could be so dedicated to helping someone they had never even met,” Chrisman said in an e-mail interview.

Chrisman was also happy to see that the unfortunate event helped bring awareness to Bike & Build.

“While I am so ecstatic about receiving the new bicycle, which I’ve named Davis, I am even more excited about the fundraising efforts for Bike & Build. The Bike & Build program uses youthful riders so that they can make an impact on the cause even after their ride is over by continuing to educate themselves and others,” Chrisman said. “The fact that so many people in Davis and the surrounding areas are now informed about the importance of affordable housing means a lot to me and my teammates from the summer.”

She was presented with a new bike at a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 8 on the steps of the Bicycle Hall of Fame. Chrisman participated via an iPad’s Facetime. Everyone who donated money signed a special bicycle jersey from the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

Additionally, Davis Bicycles!, the Business and Economic Development Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, Davis Downtown, RE/MAX Gold and First Street Real Estate, Stephen McCord of McCord Environmental and Dave Robert of Sugar Daddies all contributed to the cause, along with other individuals.

“Bike & Build received $1,050 in donations from the citizens of Davis in response to Alyssa’s stolen bicycle. Our organization, alumni, and partners were touched by the story and the immediate response from the ‘most bike-friendly community in the United States,’” said Justin Villere of Bike & Build. “It was a wonderful surprise and we look forward to many more summers of pedaling through Davis!”

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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