Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Get On Your Bike And Ride

This past weekend my life revolved, not unlike a bicycle wheel, around bicycling. On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to watch Stage Six of the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge in Boulder. It was quite a thrill to watch some of the very best athletes in the world compete in a race that is rapidly becoming one of cycling’s premier events.

Then on Sunday, I got to watch (and act as the unofficial support crew) as my wife participated in the Venus de Miles cycling event (an accomplishment to be proud of – not my part – Judy’s part!) Side note: the Venus de Miles is, in part, a fundraiser for Greenhouse Scholars, which provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students. It is also the philanthropic arm of Greenhouse Partners, a longtime supporter of Imagine!.

It occurred to me as I watched these two events that, at a fundamental level, the participants in the Pro Cycling Challenge and the participants in the Venus de Miles were doing pretty much the same thing. Sure, the pros are a lot faster, have better equipment, and have team strategies, but the basic mechanics of propelling the bicycle forward the pros used while they raced were no different than the basic mechanics of propelling the bicycle forward that my wife and all the other women who rode in the Venus de Miles used.

These mechanics aren’t exclusive to organized biking events, either. If I wanted to, I could go out and ride either the route of the Pro Challenge or the route of the Venus de Miles right now (granted, traffic would be harder to avoid, it might take me a week, and I wouldn’t have the support of cheering crowds, but still). At the most fundamental level, riding a bike is a simple thing, and barring physical challenges, most of us can do it even if we aren’t trying to win the Tour de France. It’s just not that complicated.

Do you know what else isn’t complicated at the most basic level? Having a developmental disability and living a community life. Those of us in the field want to extend the reach of the capabilities of those we serve. We want them to have fulfilling lives of independence and quality in their homes and communities.

The people we serve want the same things you and I want. They want to be good neighbors and use their skills and experience to contribute to the best of their abilities.

Those aren’t incredibly deep concepts or impossible to achieve dreams. Sometimes we make it more difficult than it needs to be. Not every ride needs to be a high-stakes Pro Challenge Tour, and not every ride needs to be a well organized event like the Venus de Miles. Sometimes, we just need to get on our bikes and ride.

Can't see the video? Click here.

I hope you will join me, and the people we serve at Imagine!, for a nice little ride. I promise it will be meaningful.

Then again, what do I know?

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