Coventry — After having his bicycle stolen last year on the day that he was to kick off a cycling challenge fundraiser, West Warwick resident Jimmy Plummer is finally riding again.
“It feels good,” Plummer said, standing last weekend near the Coventry Greenway, gripping the brand-new handlebars of his renovated bike.
Plummer had just gotten started raising money for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund through the Great Cycle Challenge USA last summer when his bicycle was taken from outside of Clyde Tower, where he lives.
“It got stolen the same day I was supposed to start fundraising,” Plummer recalled.
The incident didn’t stop him, however.
Immediately, friends reached out to help however they were able. Herbert Hawes lent Plummer his own bike to use to reach his goal of riding 500 miles during the month of September; another friend started an online fundraiser to raise money to purchase a new bike for Plummer.
And with eyes all over looking for the bike that went missing, another friend soon found his old Giant Perigee beat up and dumped beside the bike path.
Plummer ended up putting the approximately $1,300 that his friends raised for him toward refurbishing his old bike, a 1990s model that he purchased for $50 off of Facebook a few years ago.
The bike, originally white, was repainted in a sparkling forest green; the seat, brakes, gears, tires and rims were all replaced.
Plummer did a lot of the work himself, spending much of the winter tackling the projects that he was able to do on his own.
“The only original thing on it is the handlebars,” Plummer said, as he prepared to unveil his renovated bicycle.
Standing just off of the bike path earlier this month, dressed in a cycling shirt given to those Great Cycle Challenge participants who raise $1,500 or more, Plummer showed off the improved bicycle to a few of the friends who supported him through the ordeal.
“We’re all really proud of him,” said Hawes, who added that lending Plummer his bike was a no-brainer. “Doing the mileage he did last year, especially with the heartache of losing his bike during that time frame, he just kept going.”
Thanks in large part to the support he received, Plummer was able to ride 565 miles during the 2020 Great Cycle Challenge USA, raising more than $2,700 for pediatric cancer research — not only did he beat his 500-mile goal, he also rode further than he has any other year since he first joined the annual nationwide challenge in 2017.
And with his like-new bicycle, Plummer looks forward to participating again this year to benefit the important cause. He’s also currently working on a different challenge, aiming to ride 300 miles during the month of April to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
“He’s raising money, being selfless,” Hawes continued. “We’re really proud.”