Vendor Spotlight: Bryan H. steers his bikes, and life, in new directions

Dec 18 2019
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Vendor Spotlight: Bryan H. steers his bikes, and life, in new directions

By: Hannah Herner

Bryan H. says he’s always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. It comes from his love of riding dirt bikes back at home on his family farm in Missouri. Growing up, his parents always told him, “Don’t ride in the road!” Now he does that every day as a bike delivery driver.


"Your body is pumped full of adrenaline when you're riding a 10-speed — going 30, 40 miles per hour through downtown — weaving in and out of cars, trying to keep them from hitting you," Bryan says. 


Bryan H. was last featured in The Contributor five years ago, when he talked about his long-distance bike riding. Now he is no longer living in a tent and got a job at Jimmy John's. He's taken up a side hobby of motorizing bikes and got involved in a local nonprofit, Ride for Reading, which delivers books to low-income kids and educates on literacy and biking.


"It gives me a sense of peace when I'm out riding, even if I'm trying to find a house or a business while at work,” Bryan says. “Just being on my bike, you don't exist, the world doesn't exist, all my problems don't exist. It's like the purest sense of freedom for me.”


Now selling the paper has become something he does just to supplement his income. He sells occasionally in Bellevue or Hermitage, and still has regulars from over the years that recognize him. 


For a roof over his head at night, Bryan cycles between about six different places. Some are friends, and others are places he can stay while he works on home improvement. He says he often works on a bartering system. He bounces around all the way from Glasgow, Ky., to Manchester to Murfreesboro or Nashville for different jobs and boarding options. Anywhere he goes, he brings a bike with him. 


It sounds like Bryan has a lot of spinning plates, and he likes it that way. He deals with PTSD and is autistic, he says. Having this many projects going on at the same time works well for the way that his mind works, he says. 


"My brain is like a ricocheting bullet, all over the place... I've got like 10 different projects in my head going on at the same time,” Bryan says. "I can't do the same thing over and over and over. I get bored, I get worn out with it, and I start to get frustrated. Then, I get fired.”


Bryan says she sees his autism not as a curse, but a gift. He can memorize blueprints, which helps him with his home improvement jobs. Same goes for memorizing the intricacies of motors for his bike motorizing side hustle. 


"You know how Ironman can use that 3-D hologram? He can spin it around and take pieces off? I can do that with my mind," Bryan says. 


When asked what he wants to happen in five more years, he interrupts before the question is finished to describe his grand plan to create a “barn-diminium” in his home state of Missouri. 


He’ll build the barn from the bottom up and frame it into living quarters. He recites the dimensions of each room. He plans on making it like a commune, where his extended family and friends can stay. The barn will be equipped with a shop so he can work on bikes, too. 


For Bryan, the blueprint is easy to picture.

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