Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If I'm gonna write, I have to slow down

This past weekend was full of Ride for the Feast fun, and the upcoming weekend promises even more.

I tried in vain to get up on Saturday in time to get to the Team With A Purpose bake sale at Waverly Market before hitting the Patterson Park training ride. I just couldn't do it, even for their delicious treats. Fortunately, they'll be there again a few more times. (Pete, I hope there's biscotti!)

What I did wake up in time for was the training ride. Saturday was unfairly cold for a month that, based on how it began, should be going out like a lamb. Our plan had been to ride from Patterson Park to North Point Beach, but our ride leader, correctly assuming that a beach is less interesting in 30-degree weather, steered us to Fort Howard Park instead. Once again, the question came up that has come up on the other Baltimore City-based rides: Who knew? Who knew Fort Howard was there, and was so awesome, and had such warm public restrooms? Who knew people lived on the water in places other than Annapolis?

I knew these things in theory, I suppose (well, not about the warm bathrooms), but knowing about a neighborhood is far different from casually rolling through it at 10am on a Saturday morning. People out getting their mail or bringing their trash cans back from the curb want to wave to you, chat with you, know where you're going and why. Baltimore already has a bit of a small-town feel to it, but cycling through it makes it feel even smaller, but also richer and more complex.

After the ride, I headed to the Moveable Feast offices just north of Patterson Park for a volunteer day. The staff invited in riders and other community members to tour the facility, work in the kitchen, and just generally see what the organization is all about. Ted, the RFTF Coordinator, described this experience well:

I think all of us were inspired by 2 of our speakers, Harriett – a former client of Moveable Feast, and Lewis – a current client of Moveable Feast. They both shared their stories with us and told us why Moveable Feast is important to them. For Lewis, it’s the food that we provide him that sustains him and helps him to maintain his health. But it’s also the loving care that he receives from our dietitians and the visits that they make to his home. Lewis recently moved and our staff has been working hard to find him things so he can furnish his home. He told us how our dietitians call him frequently to say hello, to check in on him, and to ask him health questions to be sure that he is getting good nutrition.

Harriet shared her story of how when she was a client, Moveable Feast really saved her life and helped keep her family together by not only feeding her, but by feeding her children. Once she got healthier, she came to Moveable Feast to volunteer and is now one of our drivers.

Both Harriet and Lewis tirelessly work to advocate for people living with HIV. In fact, both of them will be with us on the bike ride – Harriett will be part of our crew and Lewis hopes to ride. What an inspiration they both are.

I hope that Harriett and Lewis can inspire all of us in our fundraising. Moveable Feast is depending on this Ride to raise the funds that are needed to provide our services to people who are sick. My hope is that with the food and nutrition that we provide to our clients, more of them will be able to live like Harriett and Lewis – getting back to work and involved with their families and the community.

Were Harriet and Lewis inspirational? Times infinity. They will keep me going through spin class tonight at Meadow Mill, and for them, I will have no problem waking up for this Saturday's training ride.

In fact, Saturday is more than just a training ride--it will begin with a clinic at Joe's Bike Shop. Joe will be talking to us about whether clipless pedals are more awesome than terrifying, what the difference is between $30 bike shorts and $130 bike shorts, and what to do if the only thing we know how to use on our multitool is the bottle opener. Joe has been a great supporter of RFTF, and we're so glad to have him working with us again this year. In addition to leading this weekend's clinic, Joe will be providing tech support during RFTF weekend; he'll be following us in his car from Rehoboth to Baltimore City, ready to change a tire, adjust a derailleur, or give a lift to a rider who just needs a little break and a big laugh. Thanks, Joe!

Chair, Ride for the Feast 2009

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