Passion is contagious. You see it in so many ways, as excitement over one thing or another leads people to share their joy with others. Bicycling is no exception.
Those of us who look at bicycling as more than a kid’s endeavor, and more than a sport for super athletes, want to tell everybody about it.
About a year and a half ago, I was coming up on my mom’s birthday. I planned to see her the week before at a yearly family gathering in Yosemite, and I’d not yet figured out what to give her. My mom is a self-proclaimed “Book Woman,” a wild-haired, imaginative, intelligent, often spacey jewel of a person who I’m extremely fond of. She saw my passion for cycling grow and was proud of what I was doing. So when my partner found a classic white ladies bike on Craigslist branded “Diana,” the name of my mother, I knew I had found her gift.
I still remember pulling the bike out and showing it to her. “This is one of those gifts I will always remember,” she told me, and I believe she will.
I later convinced my dad to get a bike and now the two of them bring their bikes along when they hit the road with their tiny teardrop trailer, beach-hopping around in their semi-retirement years.
I put out a call on the ZPG facebook page for people to share their own stories. Quite a few great ones came in, like Joaquin of WeKeepGoing, whose 82 year old father still rides the bike Jo got him, and Matthew, who tweaked, polished, and fine tuned his dad’s old bike, putting in upwards of 100 miles of test riding until the bike just sung. I was reminded that we’re in the company of some pretty amazing people.
Whether you just use your bike to get to work or you’re a hardened road cyclist, you are making an impact with those around you. No matter how dubious they are of you when you walk into the workplace decked out in your winter regalia (seriously guys, put another sock over the top if you’re going to wear grocery bags on your feet), there is a nagging realization that you’re onto something–that being climate controlled, cruise controlled, and bluetooth ready isn’t really as rewarding as the millions in advertising would have us believe.
Bicycling like we do isn’t for everyone, and we’ll end up disappointed if we expect the whole world to join us. But there are a lot out there just waiting to be awakened to the efficiency, comfort, and sheer pleasure awaiting them on the other side of two pedals. Let’s keep modeling it for them, shall we? We’re making an impact.