My first memories of cycling were when I was a kid in Colombia in the 1970’s. Though soccer is
considered a major sport, the true national sport, the one that would glue individuals to their transistor
radios on the weekends, was cycling. It was then that my curiosity about cycling was piqued.
It wasn’t until we moved to the US that I got my first bike – a blue Huffy with a banana seat. It was the
greatest present I got from Santa. Of course, my brother and I got the same bicycle… seems that Santa
did not want the brothers to argue over the bikes. The day the training wheels came off, I found my
groove. That bike got me around the apartment complex in the “bike gang” – banana seat and chopper
bikes. As I got older, I inherited my father’s yellow Sears Free Spirit 10 speed bike. A ten-speed bike with
levers and Shimano components. It was also built with West German steel – that bike was a tank. My
most spectacular wreck occurred on that bike. My cousin, who was visiting us, was learning to ride on
my Huffy. All I remember is that it was around dusk on a hot summer night. I was accelerating, looking
down to the levers to change gears and… Don’t remember anything after that. I must have landed face
first cause my eyes swelled shut. Luckily, my cousin and the West German tank survived, but the Huffy
I did not ride much in high school and when I went off to college, I did not dare ride in the city
universities that I attended. However, I then moved to Colorado. And there, a new chapter in bike riding
began. Somehow, the West German tank was still with me, and I would cruise the trails and open spaces
of Boulder. It was a great time because I began to re-appreciate bicycling but with mature eyes.
Simply put, biking gives me connection. Connection within and beyond myself. I am in the elements, and
in the moment. Through the frame of the bike, I can sense the steadiness of the tire grip on the surface.
In my legs, the soft and hard slopes of the road. In my arms, the texture of the surface, every bump and
rock. The sensation of movement, the air in my face. In my mind, all thoughts are on the ride – there is
no virtual reality. This is reality – liberation and freedom.
Bicycling is faster than walking, but you can appreciate what surrounds you – the sight of a fox, the smell
of lilacs, the call of a cardinal. And you also appreciate the friendly hello from other bicyclists that
further reinforces the sense of connection. On a couple of trips to Amsterdam, I was amazed by the
relationship that the Dutch have with their bikes. People of all ages – kids, grown-ups, old folks – all
biking in the Dam. Moms with their children, even with babies. Delivery bikes with goods. Everybody
getting around on their bikes, even in early January.
The Commuter Bike
I also love the simplicity of biking. It’s two pedals, a crankshaft, and a chain, powered by what you ate.
Even repairs are simple compared to the super engineered vehicle that requires a computer to figure
out what may have broken.
I am lucky to live in a community that has an amazing trail system and enthusiastic bicyclists. As a board
member, I would like to promote the wonderful things about bicycling, as well as safety and accessibility
for all riders. I am fortunate to be with a group of civic-minded individuals that love to bike. Their
reasons for bicycling may be different from mine, but we are all united by the essence of those two
And from Bicyclincoln, Happy Bike Week!