By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Alex Yuen said his bicycle didn’t just take him from home to work, it also gave a sense of freedom.
A New York transplant, Yuen, 38, said he has never had the interest to learn how to drive a car.
“I just like to ride just to ride, just like people who want to drive just to drive, that’s how I am about riding my bike.” said Yuen. “It just feels (freeing) to me.”
Yuen lost some of that freedom Sunday when someone stole his mountain bike that was secured with a lock from the front of his home on North Lea Street.
A store clerk, Yuen also used the bike to run errands such as buying medication for his wife, Lorrie, who has been confined to a wheelchair for three years because of a spinal infarction that left the lower half of her body paralyzed.
“He uses his bicycle to do little things … that would lessen the burden of the people that helped us,” said Lorrie, who met Yuen on the Internet eight years ago. “And now, we have to depend on everybody for everything until we can get another bike. It really took away a lot of the independence that we’ve been fighting for.”
The 20-inch dark blue Rock Hopper mountain bike was a gift from a coworker last Christmas.
Yuen is trying to make do with an old bike he describes as “on its last legs.”
“There’s no brakes, the chain slips, and there’s no bicycle repair shop in Clovis,” he said.
Lorrie said the bike barely gets him to and from work.
“Without (the new bike), he’s thinking, ‘How am I going to get to work?’, ‘How am I going to get my wife medication, and little things that we need?’” she said.
Lorrie said her family, which lives in Portales, helps her with bigger errands such as grocery shopping. Yuen said the couple uses the Clovis Area Transit System to help take his wife to doctor’s appointments.