Written by Grace Ding
For the past three years, campus supervisor Karin Delgadillo, known to students as Mr. D, has collected a number of abandoned bikes on campus. On March 30, the first bike was given to a Gunn student, with many more ready to be donated to any students in the school district who may need one. According to Delgadillo, math teacher Toni Smith has recently reached out to parents as well, receiving at least 20 more bikes so far.
As a part of his duties, Delgadillo often roams around campus, and noted that he would often see bikes left around. “We have a pretty big campus, so we find a lot of bikes that people either leave or have stolen and just abandoned on our property,” he said. “Sometimes [students] just leave bikes and forget they’re here and they don’t come to get them.”
Delgadillo began taking the bikes in after hearing that they weren’t going anywhere. “When I first started here, my former supervisor said there’s a gentleman that comes by and picks up the bikes…and does whatever,” he said. “I got tired of hearing that so I said, ‘Why are we giving them to this guy in the first place? Why don’t we give them back to the students so we can recycle and help students?’”
Before doing anything, Delgadillo waits 60 days for any students to claim the bikes. “The process is if you lost your bike or think it got stolen, you’re supposed to go to the main office and make a report, so I can come to check if it’s here,” Delgadillo said. “But some bikes have been here for over 3 years already, and they’re ready to go.”
After taking another step forward by removing the serial numbers on the bikes and turning them into the police, Delgadillo has received clearance on many of them.
Delgadillo loves riding bikes himself and thought that a good thing to do would be to work with the bike club as well. “[We] give these to the bike club so they can teach students how to fix bikes, and we can donate to students who might actually have trouble getting to school and might need a bike here in Palo Alto,” he said.
According to sophomore bike club president Alex Gao, a competitive biker, the club is a place to hang out and discuss biking-related things. Like Delgadillo, Gao appreciates that the bikes collected from campus will go back to students all over Palo Alto who are in need.
Although he and other club members have not yet had the chance to fix the bikes, they will be holding bike fixing workshops. “We have these extra bikes that are just lying around and I want to do something positive and proactive with them,” he said. “I want the community to learn more about fixing their own bikes.”
Since many of the bike club members have been busy, senior Zach Seggie, an avid biker unaffiliated with the club, has helped to fix many bikes, preparing them to be donated. “[Zach’s] my go-to-guy, and he’s coming in during G periods and bringing his tools,” Delgadillo said. “He’s volunteering his time to do it and I really appreciate him.”
For Seggie, the task comes naturally and is something he enjoys. “Getting me to help fix bikes was not hard because I like working on them,” he said. “I work at a bike shop as a mechanic so I know more than enough,”
Seggie is also motivated knowing that the bikes are for students who may need them. “Knowing that they are for people that need them is awesome. I think this is something great to do because [the bikes] are unused and left there to die anyway,” he said. “Giving them back to the Gunn community is fantastic.”
According to Delgadillo, bike club also has loose plans for donating bikes to Africa in the future. “Once we get more bikes, the club wants to send some of them out to a village in Africa and that’s great too,” he said. “But for now, we’re gonna focus on getting them out to students in need of them.”
Since the end of March, many bikes have been donated already. Students in need of a bike can talk to either Delgadillo or Smith; all they need to do is turn in a signed waiver. Students who have gotten their bikes stolen on campus have received and can ask for replacements as well.