Women's Wednesday - The Gift of Riding Bikes


Nancy on her new ride

The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future: Sharing My Love of Bikes.
I’ve got a photo of me somewhere. I’m wearing a lavender sweater with a big cowl neck. Lavender was never my color and cowl necks are apparently back so that makes me sort of timeless. Or old. Not sure which. I’m straddling a blue ten speed. Now, I think it might have been a birthday day gift but for the purposes of this article, let’s call it a Christmas gift. I was in high school. I know that much because that’s when I mistakenly thought lavender was a good color for me. And I also thought a big curl up down each side of my face was a good idea. I did not have a helmet. No one did. Besides, it would have ruined my hair.

I loved that bike. It was freedom. It took the place of another bike that I had when I was about seven years old; a banana seat Schwinn. My hair looked pretty solid in that picture too. Cute bangs and longish in the back. I think I’m wearing a big pearl necklace for some reason. I wish I still had that old bike. And that hair that didn’t need coloring every eight weeks. The Schwinn must have set my mom back who at the time wasn’t making much waiting tables as a single mom. Or maybe someone else bought it for me or maybe I stole it. She died almost seven years ago so I’ll just give her all the credit.

A bike for me isn’t just about riding the coolest new bike. Does it have 26 inch wheels or 29 or OMG does it have 27 inch wheels? It isn’t about if the components have an X, a T or an R or even XX1. And it isn’t about tubeless or a seat dropper post or carbon versus aluminum. It’s just about having a bike. And being able to ride it. And getting that feeling like I had when I was a little girl sporting Farrah Fawcett hair and sitting on banana seats.

And it’s also about renewal and recovery. My friend Nancy had an amazing husband. He was the father of their two kids. But he died in June. And as a community it’s hard to see and it’s hard to fathom and it’s hard to figure out what to do. So I did the only thing I could think of; I talked to her about commuter bikes. She wanted to buy something she could ride with her kids to school. Should she get three speeds or more? Definitely more I said. What brand she asked and I answered with a few ideas and she said, “Are you serious? You want me to go around to all of those bike stores?” Yes I said. And then I pinpointed a Trek. The Allant. And then I started lying to her, saying I could get her a good deal. Stalling. But what I was really doing was collecting five bucks from everyone she knew. From near and far. Cash started arriving from Vegas and from San Francisco. People stopped by my house and people stopped me in the school parking lot. Finally, with $400.00 in hand I gave it to Nancy saying that we, her friends, her loved ones, wanted to buy her the bike. Something to help carry her and hold her. Literally and metaphorically.

Well, she looked and she tried the Allant from Trek and she liked it. And now she has it. And it is my Christmas present, both literally and metaphorically. It’s like the best. Not only having a bike but giving a bike. May your Christmas past remind you of the child in you. May your Christmas present remind you of how lucky we are and may your Christmas future bring you the possibility of sharing what you love about riding your bike.
You can read more about Nancy at http://www.lovelaughveggies.com/

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