If you see Joe Doria at the Y, you’re likely to find him in the same place: the Expresso Bikes. The Expresso Bikes allow riders to create an account to track progress, choose to ride challenging courses or flat terrain, and provide an interactive activity where riders steer and change the bike’s gears.

“I like riding that (Expresso) bike because it keeps all the records. I can go all the way back to 2012 and see everything I’ve done,” Joe said. “I average riding 125-150 miles a month. When the Rally for the Y rolled around, I rode 220 miles (in February).”

Last year, the Easley YMCA raised $300 during the Rally for the Y, an event sponsored by Expresso bikes where participating YMCAs get $0.10 per mile ridden on the Expresso bikes during the month of February.

This year, that number ballooned to $1,700, thanks in large part to the passion of Joe, who recruited businesses to sponsor him as well as sponsoring others.

“The programs run by the Y are very beneficial, not just to this community, but also to many other communities as people move to other places,” Joe said. “I feel good when I can help someone. I take my hat off to everyone who supports the Y by contributing.”

Joe and his wife, who passed away after 62 years of marriage, originally relocated to the area to be closer to their son. They were members of several gyms, but, when his wife passed away, Joe felt lost with nowhere to go.

“Over the time that we were together, I was very happy. (When she passed) I was devastated, and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Joe said. “At the gym we were attending, there was no camaraderie.”

Growing up in Connecticut, Joe said he never had the opportunity to be part of the Y because he grew up poor during The Great Depression. He began coming to the Easley YMCA and immediately made friends, finding his place.

“When I was younger, there was a Y, but I never had the opportunity for that.  In August 2012, I came into the Y for the first time,” Joe said. “I’ve made friends and it’s to the point where if I don’t come people check up on me. There’s no way to put a price on the friendships I’ve made here.”

Living with cancer, Joe was participating in a recent session of the LiveStrong at the YMCA program. He noted there was one participant who needed an oxygen tank just to walk around before starting the program. By the end of the program, his stamina and strength had increased so much that he no longer needed to use the oxygen tank. 

“He has now joined the Y with his wife, and I see them in here a lot,” Joe said. “A lot of people get in treatment, and they start to feel depressed. The program did so much for the people I met there.”