Michael West experiences life on two wheels

BY AURORA BLANCHARD

Michael West cannot be summed up in a few words. He fits no paradigm, but fits many different hats. He is a handyman with a law degree. He has few remaining relatives but has found a family at a church. He travels five to ten miles per day but does so without a car. Michael West is an anomaly.

When he injured his back two years ago in a car accident, Michael decided: no more cars; just bikes.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” Michael said. “It’s economically friendly, it’s cost-effective, and I don’t have any extra liabilities or any extra overhead expenses on a vehicle.”

Rain or shine, Michael rides his bike to and from jobs, church, the grocery store and home no matter the weather.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing cold, ice, snow, he’s [at church],” Harvester Christian Church facilities coordinator Audrey Hicks said. “He rides that bike in all seasons, all weather.”

A sign hangs on his Schwinn with his name and business, a couple plastic bags hold his supplies for the day; there’s a light that helps him see in the dark. In the winter he sports a lime green jacket, polyester face mask, and possibly even rain gear from his army days. But, rain doesn’t bother him.

“Tomorrow if it rains, I’ve got a rain suit,” Michael said. “ I’m here local so it’s not really a factor. And it’s not the first time I’ve ever gotten wet.”

Michael has thought of getting a truck again, but right now not being a lawyer or driving a car makes sense for Michael because he’s already doing two things he loves: riding his bike and working on houses.

“Based on his constitution, determination, and survival skills, I believe that he will be just fine because he’s willing to do what it takes in the way of finding and securing work,” Audrey said. “It takes a lot of effort to live his lifestyle and he puts forth that effort.”