A handyman and a bike - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

A handyman and a bike

ICS volunteer gets to clients on two wheels

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Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:00 pm

Dick Klein is what Interfaith Community Services calls a “handy helper.”

Whenever someone needs a picture hung, a veranda fixed or a DVD player hooked up — and can’t do it due to age or disability — Klein shows up, tools in hand.

What makes Klein different from other volunteers is that he invariably arrives on bicycle.

The 70-year-old has pedaled as far as 28 miles to a single appointment and back, and that’s just after a summer of service to the interfaith organization. He carries his tools in a holster and on his back.

“We’ve been a one-car family all my life, and when we came to Arizona in 1998, my bicycle was my mode of transportation,” he said. “I ride a hundred miles a week, so this is just part of my riding.”

Klein pedals partly for his health. It’s the only exercise he enjoys, he said, besides hiking. But he also chooses two wheels so he can better know his city. The leisurely pace of bicycling gives him long looks at housing developments in his community, which often inspire bright ideas for landscaping efforts at home.

“Real often when I get home, I get my wife in the car and show her what I’ve found,” he said.

During the summer, Klein bicycles in the early morning to avoid mid-day heat. When winter comes, he said, he’ll set his appointments for the afternoon.

Interfaith Community Services makes use of more than just handymen on bicycles. Volunteers also check on homebound neighbors, provide relief to caregivers, shop for groceries, help people manage their finances and provide transportation for doctors’ appointments. For more information about volunteering, call 297-6049.

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