May 4, 2006-- More than $60 was raised, rom cyclists who gathered around the traditional halfway point, the Runcible Spoon in Nyack, NY lSunday, April 30. Offers of used bikes were also made by Arthur Faraldi of New Jersey, and Matt Sarna, a California resident and previous pro-cyclist.
However the donations fall far short of the $400 goal, enough to purchase a mountain bike for Zapoteca Indian, Celestino Bautizo Lazo, 19, in Oaxaca, Mexico (pictured at left herding one of the family's cows).
Sending a used bike has been deemed unreasonable, because Mexican customs authorities charge recipients a duty equal to the full value of the bike. In other words, to bring in a $400 bike will cost another $400 for the recipient, in effect doubling the cost.
So far, cyclists who have contributed to Lazo's cause include a large contingent of Colombian cyclists living in New York and New Jersey, all of whom have worked hard to become legal immigrants in this country, and support their families back home in hard labor jobs such as window manufacturing, building repair, and car repair.
A handful of donations came from second generation Americans who have been living in America for a long time, and may have little concept of the economic hardships that Mexicans encounter in their homeland.
Average annual incomes in the New York area run about $75,000, compared to $3,900 per year for Mexicans living in Oaxaca.
The new bike would allow Lazo the opportunity to exercise, ride to school and work, and develop a bike touring business to neighboring parkland Benito Juarez. (Picture right shows Samuel, 22, Celestino's brother herding the family cows abour a mile from the family's compound.)
To donate to this worthy cause make checks payable to: Jennifer Benepe, with "Celestino Bautizo Lazo" in subject line, to the following address: Celestino Lazo Bike Fund, Care of Jen Benepe, 2157 Center Ave., Suite One, Fort Lee, NJ, 07024