Ghost bike was a wake-up call for volunteer

John LucciPeople become BikeHouston members for a host of reasons. For volunteer John Lucci, it was the hit-and-run death of a local cyclist that prompted him to join the movement for safer cycling in Houston.

“I got involved shortly after Chealsea Norman’s death. I didn’t know her personally, but the day I saw her ghost bike on Waugh at West Gray, something inside me flipped,” he says. “I went from passive cyclist to wanting to do something about making the streets safer.”

Norman was struck and killed by a motorist on Dec. 1, 2013, while riding home from her job at Whole Foods in Montrose. Margaret Mayer, 35, was found guilty of failing to stop and render aid in the crash, and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crime.

Considering how he got started with the organization, it’s no surprise that Lucci’s favorite volunteer activities are outreach and the monthly light distribution ride.

“I like getting the word out and providing lights to those who are most at risk,” he says. But it’s not all work for Lucci. He also takes advantage of BikeHouston’s lighter side. “I enjoy being out with my fellow bike nerds, who come from all walks of life, some that I’d never come across normally.”

Lucci is a PC technician for the University of Houston. His career path has been winding. He’s been a law clerk, licensed vocational nursing student and a substitute teacher.

“John really embodies the spirit of BikeHouston,” says Volunteer Coordinator Bowen Roberts. “Not only is he a dedicated volunteer, but he is a fearless commuter. He rides to work from his home near the West Beltway, about 16 miles each way.”

If you’ve ever volunteered or ridden with him, you know Lucci doesn’t travel light. He’s always loaded down with full panniers and pockets full of the usual tools and a lot of extras. Some advice: Look for him if you’re thirsty.

“I’m often coming from work and the load will vary,” he says. The top left flap holds his lock. The handlebar bag hanging off the rear rack has regular glasses and a second pair of cycling glasses. The right pannier has a soft cooler and spare tubes and tools. The left pannier will have anything from a change of clothes, extra water and a battery bank for his phone, to a 12-pack of Cherry Zero if he’s resupplying his office stash that day.

When he’s not logging hours for BikeHouston, Lucci is working around the house and spending time with his two dogs, Rascal and Mischief, hunting with family and talking politics.

What does he want people to know about BikeHouston? “It is an awesome resource for cycling in this city.”

Learn more about volunteering with BikeHouston, and visit our calendar to view a complete listing of volunteer opportunities.


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