Residents staying active during crisis

Stir Crazy.

That’s how parents describe their children when talking to Kelly Roberts about getting bikes repaired.

“People are wanting to get bikes fixed to get the kids out of the house,” said Roberts, owner of Bicycle World.

People have quickly shifted gears to accommodate the mandates issued by Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. in reaction to the COVID-19 scare. People are out walking through the deserted streets, lone runners are jogging along once busy thoroughfares, and more bicyclists are breezing along empty avenues.

But they aren’t just spending more time outside. When the gyms closed, health-conscious adults concerned about maintaining their exercise regimen swept through Wal-Mart for equipment.

“In our store, we sold out on all our dumbbells,” said Rigo Tovar, a Wal-Mart employee.

“People were saying the gyms were closed,” Tovar said. “People started coming in and buying bicycles to do all their exercise at home.”

Racks once filled with bicycles now sat empty, awaiting the next shipment. But …

“We should be getting more in, but as we get them, people come and buy them out,” Tovar said.

Back at Bicycle World, John Colonni needed help putting his back tire on his bike. He’d had a “blowout” while riding his daily 10 miles; he’d fixed the flat, but couldn’t put the tire back on.

“It comes off easier than it goes back on because it’s flat,” said Colonni, 62, a Winter Texan from Connecticut.

He and his wife are currently stranded here; in a normal year, they travel the country in their RV and ride their bicycles along miles of park road.

“We’re probably riding less right now,” he said.

Joseph Albury says his 7 and 9-year-old daughters have been riding their bikes religiously every day since COVID-19 began. It’s a much-needed break from their online studies at home, away from their friends, their teachers, the lives they knew.

“It’s a great way to keep their minds occupied, to give them a relief from their studies,” said Albury, who works for Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito.

“Sometimes they will ride up and down the street and in the neighborhood by themselves,” he said.

He’s currently working from home, just like his wife.

“Since my wife is also a teacher, it gives her a chance to have the house to herself and focus on work,” he said.

His daughters, like he and his wife, are coping the best they can. It’s not easy.

“I think they’re frustrated,” he said. “They miss their friends, they want to be able to just get out of the house and do things.”