My old bike, shown in this post, was given to me by my sister in July 2016, which is to say, last summer. She had bought it for her step-daughter a few years earlier. It turned out to be too small for her, so they bought a more appropriate bike for her. My sister decided to keep this bike for herself. She rode it a bit and then it spent a couple of years in their garage. When she sold her house and moved, she gave the bike to me.
Earlier this year, around March I think, I bought a new bike. This one:
When I did this, I gave the first bike to my friend’s 11 year-old daughter. She wanted a bike and was very excited about acquiring mine. Her mom wanted her to learn to ride it so she could ride with her friends and possibly ride it to school. She also saw the way biking had changed my life. Because of biking I learned to push myself hard, face my fears, exercise, and improve my health.
She then convinced me to hold a two-day biking camp for her daughter. She called it my bad-ass girls’ biking camp.
I talked to her daughter about bike safety and trail safety. I gave her pointers on how to ask for help, who it is safe to talk to – look for trail monitors, parks with a park ranger, showed her where friends of mine, (and her parents), lived, etc. Then I took her out on the trails. I let her go at her own pace and pushed her to ride a little bit farther than she was comfortable with. But I also listened when she said she’d had enough and wanted to go home.
When I gave her the bike, it was clear the bike was already too small for her. It was too small for me and she was about my height at the time. Nonetheless, her dad thought she could probably ride that bike for a couple-three years.
She has grown in the months since I gave her the bike, as 11 year-old girls are wont to do..
Her dad hit a bike sale and bought her one that is more appropriate for her height and weight and will probably last her a lot longer.
My friend then told me they were letting the girl down the street, her daughter’s friend, “borrow” the bike.
I think this is just fantastic! I told her that if no one in her house is using the bike, they should just give to her if they wanted. Or donate it to Phoenix Bikes. She is concerned the bike may be a bit too big and heavy for the neighbor girl. Still, I love thinking about all he people this bike has helped.
The bike got my sister and my step-niece biking. I rode it for 9 months as I learned the trails in Arlington, VA and beyond, and reconnected with my love of biking. My friend’s daughter started riding because of the bike and we had fun times on the bike trails. And now the bike is helping her neighbor learn a love of biking!
I’ll probably lose track of the bike in pretty short order, especially if they donate it. And that’s OK. It is a good solid bike that has many more years of joy left in it. I hope it touches many more lives, teaches many more people a love of biking, and improves their lives as it has mine!