"The G'Knight Ride is a celebration of cycling, and is meant for cyclists of all ages, sizes, and abilities. The Ride is a great excuse to dust off that old 10-speed, mountain bike, or cruiser and hop on with 1,500+ other riders on a great evening tour."
Really, it's all about getting people out of their homes, and on bikes!
I like this ride not because it is fast or intense - it is neither. In fact, it's not even much of a workout. A slow, meandering 16 mile loop, with much of it spent dodging young children and trying to pedal up hills at 5mph behind ten speeds that have been tucked in the back of garages for decades prior. But that's the point. The point is to make cycling accessible for everyone, to inspire a love of bikes and a sense of community, and to entertain the notion that the time spent on a bicycle is time well spent, generally.
I had to put in a little time promoting the CO Tour de Cure with my friends from the ADA. Unfortunately, Dennis was at the office on Saturday afternoon...which meant that I had a couple of helpers in tow.
Midori busied herself making a paper bag puppet in the kids area. Henry was running around, making havoc. Good enough.
People of all ages and abilities...even the very young.
The kids get a turn to race a one mile course. This is really more of a workout for the parents who, as you might imagine, are forced to run alongside their cycling tots. Ever chased a kid on a bike going about eight miles per hour? While wearing flip-flops? Hardest part of my night.
It is funny to see aid stations every three or four miles but, in the spirit of accessibility and making the ride possible for anyone - and for the sake of fun...
Silliness aside, I spotted a young woman - maybe about 15 - in a Title Nine jersey! I stopped to ask her if she rode with the team. "No," she replied, "I just got in to cycling, and my coach used to ride with them. She gave me the kit."
I told her a bit about my time with Title Nine, and spent a good amount of the ride chatting with her and her father about the need to get women involved in the sport...to take women who simply ride bikes and make them women who race. It was a good conversation, and I hope I persuaded her to get out there and give it a go!
I also managed to run into a few good friends, and several of my patients at the office.
My own daughter, on the other hand, was all too pleased to spend a night racing her bike and riding around with the sounds or a million tiny bike bells.
Building healthy communities isn't about eliminating advertising from the Disney Channel or taxing soda. It's about giving people the opportunity to commune, to get together, and to do it in a manner that is meaningful and fun and promotes living well in spheres both physical and social. There's nothing preachy or cajoling about getting on a bike with 2000 of your closest friends and neighbors, and going for a spin. No arm-twisting or heavy handed public health measures needed. Making a community livable is about finding ways to tap into the energy that brings people into a space for a common purpose, and making that matter for the health of all who live there.