Meet Randall Ard, Our Volunteer Bringing Light to the Third Ward
Have you thought about going on a light distribution ride but figure it would be one or all of these: scary, unfamiliar, dangerous?
Volunteer Randall Ard wants you to know that the ride is one of BikeHouston’s best regular events, and the rewards are great.
“My favorite thing about LDR is seeing smiles on faces when they get them lights put on,” said Ard. He goes every chance he gets. “If you’re scared to go, don’t be. Just roll with me or others who know their way around town.”
Before he was handing out lights, Ard was the recipient of a stranger’s generosity and concern.
“I started doing the light distribution ride because one day a guy saw me at Tranquility Park on my bike with no lights, and he gave me a nice light,” he said. “The feeling I got from receiving it from a total stranger was the motivation.”
Ard likes the great feeling he gets from helping people ride safe, but he also enjoys his encounters with his fellow Houstonians. Some of his new acquaintances: a lady bartender with wild purple and green hair, a group of homeless veterans who were thankful for lights, and some youngsters who were really happy to see him. “I got bum-rushed in the Cuney Homes by a bunch of kids wanting lights!”
Ard is heavily involved with the biking community and volunteering. He donates time to Third Ward Bike Shop, Tour De Hood and SHAPE Community Center.
He advises beginners to follow the advice of BH Communications Manager Ivan Fuentes: “Ivan tells us all to be friendly and careful when approaching people.”
The ride generally happens on the second Tuesday of the month. It starts at the BikeHouston office, 616 Hawthorne Street, at 7 p.m. Riders take off in groups of two or more at 7:30 p.m.
The ride covers the following neighborhoods:
Knowing the area you’re covering will work to your advantage. Riders rendezvous back at the BH office after about an hour.
Lights are provided by BikeHouston courtesy of the Houston-Galveston Area Council and Blue Line Bike Lab.
Staff note: “Randall has been one of the most helpful and enthusiastic volunteers for this ride. It’s a joy to have him show up with his music and great attitude. His confidence and comfort riding in 3rd Ward helps make the rest of our volunteers relax and have a good time. It really helps break the barrier and the stigma that certain parts of our city are not places to ride in. If there is one thing people learn on this ride is that; all over Houston, we have great neighborhoods with even better people. I appreciate Randall helping us in shedding light on this (no pun intended or maybe).” -Ivan Fuentes