By Coastal Breeze News Staff
Marco Island’s “paradise pedaler,” Steve Zandy, is back to his regular cycling routine thanks to the help of the local community. Zandy, known around town for his big heart and custom-built bicycle, lost his sense of freedom when his bicycle was stolen right out of his driveway in mid-June.
Members of the Marco community quickly banded together to raise funds to purchase a new bike for Zandy. “It is a real tribute to the island and the generosity of this community,” stated Steve Stefanides of Christmas Island Style, who was originally contacted to help in the fundraising efforts.
With the help of Sharon Krohn and Tiffany Homuth of Mutual of Omaha Bank, an account was opened where locals could donate to the fund, and clearly they did! As Homuth commented, ”We were pleased we could participate in making this happen for Steve. With our affiliation to Christmas Island Style and Sharon Krohn, one of our employees, we have a special connection to Island Bike Shop and Steve Zandy. We took up a collection among staff and let everyone know they could make donations at the bank.”
Stefanides added, “Our goal was $1500 which we surpassed. The extra money will go to a fund to help Steve with a few future expenses due to wear and tear, maybe an extra chain for the bike, a new lock. People here have big hearts!”
Including Island Bike Shop owner, Matt Walthour, who built the custom-bike that was stolen and later found in a dumpster off of Port au Prince Road in East Naples. With the money raised, Walthour built a brand new bike for Steve. “I’ve been working on Steve’s bikes since 2007.”
“The new bike has cambered wheels, it was sent out to a local welder to give it added strength, it is reinforced and gusseted to make it stronger and heavier and has special heavy duty tires,” explained Stefanides. The bike has also been re-outfitted with the special “Lou Dog” sign on the back, a name meaningful to him as it refers to his father.
The Zandy family couldn’t have been happier as Steve was presented his bike on September 5, at Island Bike Shop. As Tina Zandy, Steve’s mother, said, ”Matt is like my other son. He has been a Godsend to Steve and he sure is a good bike “putter-together” when it comes to Steve’s special needs. To all in attendance she added, ”Without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you.”
Steve Zandy’s smile said it all. As he took his first test lap around the Bike Shop his grin was ear to ear. With the freedom to roam once again, look for Steve and his new wheels traversing the islands, visiting some of his favorite stops like 7-Eleven and Mutual of Omaha Bank.