If you’ve been around Mount Sterling, you probably recognize Ralph Shaffer.
The 58-year-old man has been riding around town — literally — for about 12 years. He doesn’t own a car. His only mode of transportation is an old adult tricycle.
“Everybody knows Ralph,” said John Martin, village administrator. “He’s always making his way around town talking to people on his bike. Summer, fall, winter, spring — it doesn’t matter — he’s always on his bike.”
But that changed a few months ago when Ralph’s bike broke. Martin said he tried to fix it a few times, but couldn’t ever get it quite right. In the meantime, Ralph turned to a walker. He made his way around town by pushing himself backward.
But, oftentimes he fell off, Ralph said, showing a back covered in scratches.
A local person heard about the disabled man’s dilemma last week and decided to step up.
“I received a call from an anonymous donor who said he had something for Ralph in the back of his car,” Martin said. “He asked if the village would be willing to put it together.”
So on Friday Martin, along with a crew of village employees, put together a brand new Schwinn tricycle. Shiny and burgundy in color, the piece of equipment retails for about $600.
Ralph was surprised with the gift Friday afternoon.
He slowly stood from a bench in front of village hall before swinging one leg across the seat.
“People got a heart of gold,” he said.