My mom is many things. She’s passionate, protective and stubborn. She’s also a small business owner, a homemaker, a dreamer and, most importantly, my mom. But up until a year ago, one thing she was not, was someone who rode a bicycle.
Let me back up a litte. Back in the day when my mom was in college and child-free, she rode her bike to campus and all around town. I picture her as a youth of the ’70s, wildly riding along the beach to class. Fast forward to when I was around 9 years old. I remember my mom making time for me, her oldest child,on Saturday mornings. Before the sun was up, we would get on our bikes and ride a few miles and then stop for an early morning doughnut. We both rode heavy mountain bikes because those were all the rage in late ’80s. I remember having fun but generally I was in it for the Saturday morning treat. At that point, most of her bike riding was about her two daughters. When I became a teenager, these outings stopped as did my mom’s biking. This story is not unusual one for many parents.
Four years ago my mom told me she wanted to start riding again. I shared with her all the information she asked for, and I even got her a helmet. She kept talking about riding but she still wasn’t actually riding. Slowly, she started looking at my bikes with a slightly more interested eye, asking me questions about how far I ride and what I’d recommend. She even scoped out a local bike shop that she was going to get a bike from. But again, she kept talking about biking but there was no action.
But then, last May my mom’s precious crazy dog passed away. She was heartbroken. This dog was adorable, needy and practically dictated my mom’s schedule. Within a week of his passing, my mom got back on that old heavy mountain bike and went for a ride flat six-mile ride. She called me up super excited about her plan to ride two or three days a week, going a little further each time. A month later she had a new bike. By December she was riding 18 miles with 2,000 of elevation gain. She told me she had a goal to ride to the top of Gibraltar Road within the next two years. Two months latter she hit her goal.
My mom rode her bicycle 24 miles with a 3,500 ft of climbing, and when she reached the top of the mountain, she realized she could go anywhere on her bicycle, she felt so free.
My mom’s story is what we hope many people’s stories are – the story of discovering the joy of two wheels. Now whenever I talk to my mom, she tells me about all the people she is getting to ride bikes. Her determination and joy inspires me in my job. To my mom, the passionate bicyclist, a very happy Mother’s Day!