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July 23, 2019  |  

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Paul Egan of Clinton is better known as The Bike Guy in some circles. 

Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Paul Egan of Clinton is better known as The Bike Guy in some circles. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

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Paul Egan of Clinton is better known as The Bike Guy in some circles. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Paul Egan of Clinton is better known as The Bike Guy in some circles. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

Paul Egan Uses Love for Tinkering, Biking to Help Community

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Two years ago, Paul Egan and his wife Liz were watching Jeopardy. During the portion of the show when the contestants introduce themselves, one of them described herself as a community volunteer, which caught Paul’s attention.

“My eyes lit up and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” says Paul.

Soon after that episode, Paul put in his notice that he was retiring so he could focus on helping in the community.

“I’m just trying to make an impact where I live,” he says. “It’s very rewarding.”

Many Clinton residents know Egan simply as “The Bike Guy.”

“I’m a tinkerer, I’ve always liked fixing and working on bikes,” Paul explains.

In his spare time, Paul would fix bikes up, then give them away, but that all changed when Paul went to one of the many events conducted by the local nonprofit Families Helping Families (FHF). While at the event, Paul began talking with FHF founder Miner Vincent about the bikes he had in his house.

“Miner said to me, ‘Do you need any money?’ and I said, ‘I need someone to get these 12 bikes out of my house,’” Paul recalls with a laugh.

Eventually Paul agreed to accept a stipend for parts, which allowed him to fix more bikes.

Since 2016, “I’ve donated [in] total...just shy of 400 bikes.”

Of those nearly 400, Paul says about 175 of them are through the food pantry alone. In the beginning, Paul used to have to scavenge for bikes and parts, but as he’s become more well-known that’s changed.

“Now a lot of people just call and offer to donate,” Paul says.

Besides fixing bikes, Paul has been an avid rider for a long time. Paul grew up in New Jersey on a piece of property he describes as a big farm house surrounded by cornfields. As a teenager, Paul says that due to the seclusion of his home he was forced to ride his bike to visit town or go play pickup basketball with his friends.

As an adult, Paul has been a frequent rider in charity rides and for recreational rides. Paul says the shoreline of Connecticut has ideal terrain for bike riders as there are plenty of flat areas for easier rides, as well as hilly roads for riders who seek a challenge. Paul lists Ironworks Road and Cow Hill Road in Clinton as well as Turkey Hill Road in Chester as his favorite local trips to make.

“Boy, there are so many places to ride here; we are so lucky,” says Paul.

Paul is able to combine his joys of bike riding and community involvement by being a member of the Bike and Pedestrian Alliance Committee (BPAC).

“In general, we work to make pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets,” Paul says of the group’s mission.

Paul was introduced to BPAC through former Clinton resident Richard Free, who introduced him to the various charity rides around town.

“I have a fondness for Richard for introducing me to it,” Paul says.

As for current plans, Paul says BPAC is busy establishing more bike routes around Clinton, and has even had informal talks about possibly developing a route that links up with Killingworth. BPAC is also continuing its efforts in opening a Clinton portion of the Shoreline Greenway Trail, a proposed bike trail from New Haven to Madison.

The Clinton portion of the trail is 2.9 miles and is designed to wind through the downtown and town historic areas.

“It’s amazing the progress we’ve made relative to other towns,” says Paul.

Paul is currently on his second stint as a Clinton resident, having lived in the town in the ’80s before moving away again. Paul returned to Clinton in 2004 and cites the town’s shoreline location and recreational opportunities as part of the reason.

“I’ve always loved Clinton; it’s a great town,” he says.

Prior to his retirement, Paul was an engineer with the Lee Company in Essex. Paul proudly notes that he worked at the company for 28 years.

“The Lee Company really impressed me,” Paul says.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys many different activities. Along with outdoor pursuits like hiking, golfing, kayaking, and traveling, Paul also enjoys showing off his singing talents with the Con Brio Choral Society.

Paul says he has also been a music lover, and even played bass guitar, keyboard, and harmonica in a band for a while. Paul says auditioning for Con Brio allows him to indulge in his love for singing. And Liz herself has gotten involved with his favorite sport, and has encouraged them to take it to the next level. Paul has become a triathlete.

“Here we are at 61 doing biking, running, and swimming!” he says.

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