‘Bike Man’ Is A Different Kind Of Community Superhero Changes His Mind About Assisted Suicide


Bob Charland has a passion for building bikes. He just doesn’t know how much longer he can do it.

“I want to help people,” said Bob. “I want to know that my time here meant something and that I was able to make a difference in this world.”

Bob used to work as an auto mechanic and bouncer. In 2017, he told Kind World producer Erika Lantz that the head injuries he sustained during his time as a bouncer led to a likely diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.┬áBob was devastated. He even considered applying for…physician-assisted suicide. He changed his mind when he got a call from a school counselor asking for his help.

The counselor knew that Bob sometimes repaired old bikes and donated them to kids who otherwise couldn’t afford them. Since that call, Bob has dedicated a lot of his time to building and donating bikes. Affectionately known by his Springfield, Massachusetts community as “the bike man,” Bob eventually formed a nonprofit called Pedal Thru Youth. So far, the group has donated more than 1,400 bikes…

“Every day, even if I have a really bad day, I still focus on knowing that I can change someone’s life.”

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