So, I’ve been stalking Ride for Reading for awhile now. Riding and reading are two of my favorite things, and this organization does bike deliveries of books to schools in poor neighborhoods, all over the country. They’re based in Nashville, and Tennessee is still on my to-do list.

So when I checked in a few weeks ago and saw that they were doing a ride in Las Vegas during Interbike, I seized the opportunity to schedule an overnight trip and mop up the five miles I missed on Saints to Sinners.

Their blog post is far more interesting than anything I have to contribute, but here are my snapshots:

My fabulous loaner bike…

20130920-085957.jpg
Thank you, Pivot Cycles!

20130920-085942.jpg
Books for us to load up:

20130920-090015.jpg
Registration:

20130920-090047.jpg

Our police escort:

20130920-090128.jpg

Selfie with a message: the 1/300 refers to the ratio of age-appropriate books to children in poor neighborhoods.

20130920-090203.jpg

What I can’t show you (minors, privacy concerns) was the best part of the ride. We pulled up at Jack Dailey Elementary to see hundreds of cheering students, lined up to give us high-fives! I’ve never felt so appreciated in my life.

The young women from JET Cycling, all high-school students, were our ride marshals, and they spoke very eloquently about the importance of healthy minds in healthy bodies. They made me wish I’d been an athlete in high school.

One of the JET racers asked me if I raced, and I was sad to say no, to not be part of the sorority. I told her that I mostly do charity rides, and my goals are to not be DNF or DFL. She laughed and replied, “that’s better than I do some days.”

You see, even a third of the way through these fifty states in my fiftieth year, I still see “athletes” as someone else. In school, I was the girl picked last for the team (smaller, less coordinated, totally unpopular). I used dance classes to get around my high school and college PE requirement at every legal opportunity. Yes, I know that dancers are athletes, but not me, and what I lacked in athleticism, I did not make up for in the artistic interpretation or aesthetics categories.

Still, it made me happy. I wish I’d been good enough for it to bring pleasure to someone beyond myself. I think the same holds true for this project. Riding a bicycle (and documenting my adventures) makes me happy, and I hope that I can expand that bubble of joy beyond my own skin. For a moment, when we showed up with those books, I think I did.

Advertisements