Theres a new non profit called Cycling for All. I was asked to write something about my cycling experience for a display next week, so I thought Id share what I wrote with you.
My first tandem bike ride was on an old one-speed bike with my husband and our 3-year-old son. I liked to say that it was a 2-speed bike, pump, and pump harder. We strapped Steve into a child seat behind me, and we rode around the neighborhood. Later, my husband and I would ride 7 miles to the airport and back, and we thought that distance deserved a milk shake and a soak in a hot bath.
We gradually increased our distances and eventually bought a better bike. Much later still, I bought a tandem on my own, formed a group of visually impaired riders, and matched them up with bikes and captains. Through this effort, I met some pretty wonderful folks from a bike club near where I live. Soon I was riding 40, 50, and 60 miles in a day. Various members of the club would take turns at being my captain for the day, both men and women. The friendships forged from riding together have been some of the best.
On 3 occasions, I was able to participate in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, GOBA, where we would ride about 50 miles a day for a week, around the rural parts of Ohio. I maintain that its the best way to see the Ohio countryside and to experience Small TownAmerica. The first year, I rode with Tricia the whole week. She was great at describing such scenes as cows standing in a stream to cool off and Amish overalls hanging from a clothes line as we pedaled past. The second year, my captain was the man I was dating at the time. The third year, I had a different captain each day of the week, which was a real feat of orchestration. Its interesting to note how different people notice different things as we ride together. Then there are those captains who just want to go as fast as we can and forget to tell me what were passing. One of my favorite captains was Glenn, who described everything from the little old woman sitting on her front porch to the beautiful sunset. He could identify for me the birds that I heard. Once when we were riding with some of his friends, one of them asked, How far til we get there? Glenn answered, what do you mean? We are there. His point was that the joy was in the journey, not the destination.
The most exciting ride of all was with my friend Eve, whom Ive mentioned several times on this blog. Twice, we rode in a fund-raiser for Leukemia in El Tour De Tucson, a 111-mile ride around the perimeter of Tucson, AZ, in one day. As we stoked our way up one of the long hills, Eve said, Well, instead of corn on the left and soy beans on the right, I see cacti on the left and cacti on the right. At the end of the day, both times, I felt like I needed to be peeled off the bike. But what a terrific experience it was. I like riding for a cause, but I love riding, just because. Its a wonderful way to be out in the sunshine and fresh air and getting good exercise at the same time. I used to hate summer, because I cant stand bugs and sweat, but when youre on a bike, you dont notice the sweat, and youre going too fast for the bugs to catch you.