When I look at some of my goals for my life, some of the most important ones are leaving a positive mark on others and helping people find the real strength within themselves. I had the wonderful opportunity to do just that at two separate events this weekend.
The first event was the “Women Learn to Mountain Bike Clinic” held by Freewheel Cycle. Freewheel Cycle has been a huge supporter of my cycling pursuits for many years. They have been instrumental in helping me improve as a cyclist and as a person. This is the second time I have had the opportunity to participate in this clinic and I was ecstatic that my skills would be useful.
With the other two female instructors, Mari and Mandy, we started the day with a sit in clinic on the basics of cycling. It was followed by a session outdoors near the store on bike handling. I could see the nervousness in some of the women so I decided sporting a chicken on my helmet was key to easing their nerves. It was also a means of keeping their eyes looking ahead. They couldn’t help but look at the crazy chicken lady and aim straight!
The afternoon was spent at Puslinch Conservation on real trails. It didn’t take long for them to figure out that Mari was the very sweet head instructor. Then there was a good cop and a bad cop. I was definitely the bad cop. I was the navy seal instructor of mountain biking running beside them with military style commands to succeed. Mandy and Mari, gave them the gentle and positive voices of “good job.” I used a stern voice saying “PUSH! PUSH!” as I ran beside them up the hills. I knew my forceful commands would cloud their desire to give up. The prize for such military behaviour, the huge smiles at the top from doing what they thought they couldn’t. As instructors, we wanted them to believe that they could, we used our various skills….and we achieved just that!
It was a fantastic day helping others conquer their fears and embrace such a fantastic sport. I was reminded of the purity in taking on a new activity. All successes and mistakes are taken in with great enthusiasm. It is such things we can lose as our skills grow and our demands for greater feats fill our minds. These women were void of ego and I thank them for taking me back to the purity of the sport.
If you want to see more photos from this incredible day, check out the Women Learn to Mountain Bike Album.
The second event of the weekend was a charity event called “Bike for Mike.” This event was created by the Chamberlain family in dedication to their son Mike who passed away far too young. Mike worked hard to try and make cycling in the city of Hamilton a more enjoyable and safer activity. His family created this event as a means to carry on with his dream.
It was an awesome day with perfect temps, blue skies and over 300 riders wearing “Bike for Mike” shirts. There were 5 km, 20 km and 40 km distances enabling riders to enjoy the streets of Hamilton, Dundas and surrounding area.
Eric, a mechanic for Freewheel and I provided support to riders that had mechanical challenges while they enjoyed a beverage and snack. The positive energy that filled the area was awesome. So many people excited to ride for something positive. It was refreshing to see so many people smiling and getting exercise.
Once they were ready to go, Mari and Dave, Freewheel and Domestique Ambassadors, helped direct them to their final destination at Bayfront Park where food and festivities awaited them.
I wasn’t out riding my bike, but I had the wonderful opportunity to help others embrace the same passion about cycling and giving back.
It was a weekend of privilege and purpose. My constant quest of leaving a positive mark and making a difference, no matter how small, was again fulfilled. This is a quest that is never finished and I really look forward to being a part of events with such meaning and sense of community for years to come.