In a small town in south-central Pennsylvania, salvation found a man and a dog through cycling.
The man is Bill Myers. Bill became a "cycling devotee," as he calls himself, after he was diagnosed with a combination of type 2 diabetes and neuropathy, a condition that, in Bill's case, affects the nerves in his legs and feet.
The dog is Daisy Mae. Daisy Mae, a German Shepherd mix, was lost in the woods near Carlisle, PA after escaping from a vehicle while she was being transported from her former home in West Virginia to a rescue shelter.
Through an interesting series of events over many years, the bicycle played a role in bringing both Bill and Daisy Mae back to good health.
About ten years ago, Bill discovered that he had type 2 diabetes. His doctor recommended that he take up cycling to help keep the disease under control. Regular rides would help to lower Bill's blood sugar levels, maintain a health body weight and improve his cardiovascular fitness with minimal strain on his legs and feet.
So, Bill began riding, routinely logging approximately ten miles or more several days each week, and he has covered around 14,000 miles in the past decade. From his home in the New Kingstown/Mechanicsburg area, Bill usually rides towards Carlisle, taking in the sights and sounds that surround Cumberland County's famed limestone stream.
It was approaching this stream on his daily ride that Bill spotted Daisy Mae for the first time. He made a mental note to check on the dog on his way back, and found her in the same spot upon his return.
But, despite Bill's cautious advance, Daisy Mae spooked and fled into traffic. Later that evening, when Bill shared his story and concern with a friend, she recalled seeing posters for the missing dog, which prompted Bill to call in his sighting the following day.
Days later, despite heavy snowfall, a search team found Daisy May. The dog was thin and distraught but safe.
Thanks to Bill's tip, the rescue team had redirected their search efforts and found Daisy May. The bicycle, which has been an integral part of Bill's journey back to health, led him to an animal that also benefitted greatly from his dedication to cycling.
The amount of good that a bicycle can do, not only to lower our blood sugar levels and to increase the strength of our muscles but also to bring the details and intricacies of our world back into focus is astounding.
The incident generated a small amount of publicity in the area, and Bill has been hailed as a “hero cyclist.” Bill sees it differently:
I most sincerely believe that the folks that actively conduct pet rescue missions and foster such animals, prompting adoption, are the ones so deserving of praise for their compassionate acts. And last, they say I helped rescue an unfortunate creature — as a cyclist with ‘an eye on the sparrow’ as well as the road. Clearly, it is riding that has helped ‘rescue’ me.
We know that Bill is healthier because of cycling, but we have no idea what he will find on tomorrow's ride.