Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why do I ride?

I have been asked on several occasions why I ride.  I believe we all ride for different reasons, but for me, I ride to remember, in hope and lastly because I am able to ride.
I ride to remember the people in my life who currently have or have passed away from HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and other cancers.  I ride in the hope that someday there is a cure for all these life challenging illnesses. I ride because I am lucky enough to be able to be on a bicycle and ride for those who can't with some of the best people in the world.
I have been participating in Ride for the Feast since its inception as a rider, team captain, and a past ride chair; not just because it's an organization that is doing some good in the community and not just because I know that all the money I help raise goes directly to those who need it, but also because the riders are a community unto themselves.  In the 7 years that I have participated in this ride I have met so many great friends (and I expect year 8 to be no different).  Having participated in many charity rides in my lifetime, those that know me know I talk about this ride the most.  One such event would have been a Sunday a few years back when I was riding on the B&A trail with Deb, another team mate, when we ended up talking with 2 people riding the trail about the ride.  Deb casually mentioned they should be careful before they got caught up in the VORTEX known as Bob that sucks people into doing this ride.  Well ok so I guess I am a vortex for The Ride, but one of those people riding was Pez who joined our team.
There are also times that life puts so many things on your plate that you just don't know if you can do just one more thing.  A great friend once wrote me and another team mate when there was so much going on, not to push us to do the ride, but to remind of us of how we inspired her when she decided to become a rider and we said we couldn't wait to ride with her.  I think what she wrote says a lot about the people who participate on this ride.
     "By being so encouraging and positive, you really embodied the spirit of Moveable Feast's mission, which is meeting people at their point of struggle and helping them get past it to where they want to be. You can't get well because your nutritional needs aren't being met? No problem; we'll bring you meals and get you well. You can't find a job because you're an ex-con in transition? No problem; we'll get you into our culinary program and help you find a job. You want to ride farther than you've ever ridden before? No problem; we'll help you train because we can't wait to ride with you."
That very simple and sincere response immediately made me feel like I was part of a community. 
Why do I ride?  Because this is the ride that has the most conscientious riders and crew I have ever met.  When you are struggling to get to the next pit stop because you ran out of water, a snack, or just hit a wall and need a push, you can count on someone coming upon you and getting you to the next point.  This is the ride you go on and catch up with old friends while you are riding and don't even realize how quickly you made it to the next pit stop.  This is the ride where you are riding with someone who you haven't seen since the previous year's ride, but you know they have your back if you need anything.  As some past riders and crew will remember, this ride has been done in the pouring rain, temperatures over 100, and in high winds, yet we all pulled together and made it through the ride.  That is the kind of people you know are there for you no matter what.
As captain of The Chain Gang I have the privilege of riding with some great people on my team (yes we are accepting new teammates), the motos to protect us on the ride and on other teams, riders and crew to make this a great ride for a great organization. 
I hope to ride with you either on a training ride or during the Ride for the Feast.

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