As many of you know, our hobbies of younger days often take a backseat to different activities once we get married and have kids. In fact, they sometimes get bumped from the backseat to the rear cargo area of a three-row, nondescript, family-friendly SUV. They then get buried under strollers, diaper bags, t-ball helmets, broken crayons, sippy cups, and an unbelievable amount of Cheerios. Such was the case for me. As much as I loved being active and outdoorsy, I got busy with work and kids and being married. Of course, once I got fat and out of shape, it was even more difficult to get back into the swing of things like going for a bike ride. Never mind the fact that my equipment was every day becoming more outdated and dust-covered. If I even had any spandex bike clothes, they certainly wouldn’t fit. While I really wanted to get back into biking, I just couldn’t seem to find the time.
Luckily I’ve gotten to that magical point where my kids can now do things like put on pants, make a bowl of cereal, and find their favorite show on Netflix without assistance. Gone are the days of diapers, sippy cups, naps, and strollers. While I hate to see them grow up so fast, I do not miss any of the aforementioned accoutrements of parenting (well, I miss naps a lot). I love the fact that I can finally say “get in the car, it’s time to go” and expect to find two kids in the backseat with at least one hat and three gloves between them. Combine self-sufficient(ish) kids with changes in my job duties, and I would seem to have a little bit more time on my hands. Last year, I made some lifestyle changes which helped me lose some weight and get in better shape. I’m starting to lose excuses NOT to bike.
And that’s where Jason, the neighbor, comes in. Jason has participated in the Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour for the last three years. This is a three-day, 300 mile, ride which is a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Michigan. In fact, it is their largest fundraiser of the year. Riders raise donations to help make transformational wishes come true for Michigan children battling critical illnesses. I know others who ride in this same ride, but none has dogged me like Jason. After the first year he rode, Jason immediately started telling me that I need to ride with his group the next year. “Yeah, sure” I said. But in reality, I don’t have a road bike. My 15 year old mid-priced mountain bike is probably not what I want to do 100 miles a day on. Plus, summers are tight in our family. The Wife does a great job of filling any free time with adventures and activities. And I definitely don’t own any spandex. But each year Jason got a little more tenacious. And others on his team joined in. Andy started telling me how easy it is and that finding a bike would be no problem. After hearing them both hound me for years, The Wife chimed in with “you should do it!” Of course I should. SHE isn’t the one riding 300 miles.
Then they found my weak spot. At the New Year’s Eve party (which happened to be Jason’s birthday party), Andy and Jason waited until just the right number of beers to point out that I could register much cheaper if I did it before midnight. Ever the bargain hunter, I was sucked in. Mind you, I still have no bike. I don’t know if I can get the time off. And I certainly don’t own enough spandex, yet. But by 11p.m. I was signed up. Worse yet, I was never into road biking. Even when I did bike, back at the dawn of time, I was a mountain biker. I feel like I know nothing about the sport. Nevertheless, I have decided to give it a shot. I did some long rides where we spent all day biking from one camping spot to another. Granted I was 18 and had zero responsibilities, cares, or aches and pains, but I did it. How hard can this be? It’s like riding a bike.
So that brings me to today… 10 days after commitment, realizing that maybe I made a mistake. I need to start training, I should probably find a bike, and I NEED to get fundraising. Luckily, Jason texts me almost daily with great finds on bikes. More to come on that later. What I really need is your support. I would LOVE it if you would consider donating to the cause. I have committed to raise AT LEAST $1200. That’s $4 per mile. I really hope you will all consider throwing a buck or two towards making dreams come true for kids battling illness. You can find my donation page here. In the meantime, please check back for updates to this blog as I stumble my way through learning to ride a bike again. ac