Saturday, July 24, 2010

A brief history of the Pedal A Way program.

Riding bicycles with kids has given me a great deal of pleasure, and as much as I appreciate recognition for the work I have done, I would also like to ensure that those who have matched (if not exceeded) my efforts should also be recognized. Recently there was an article published in the Laramie Daily Boomerang by one of cycling's closest friends, Eve Newman, whom I recently request Facebook friend status with. (Fingers crossed for good luck.) The Article was in Friday's Paper, and featured some young people from the Cathedral Home's Pedal A Way program out on the trails of Happy Jack. In the article, Eve said that the bicycles are provided by the Pedal House, and that is not 100% accurate. We do provide service and parts for the kids, much of which we donate, but the bicycles are provided by an unlikely source; bike thieves.

Ironic I know, since the slogan of the Pedal House is in fact, "We Still Hang Bike Thieves In Wyoming". But, before we digress, let me explain. Back in 2002 I was on a backpacking trip with a man named Dann Harvey. We were hiking with kids from the Cathedral Home for Children in the Four Corners area of the southwest. One of the kids said we should start doing bicycle trips because they would be more fun. The next summer the Cathedral Home for Children accepted a proposal to let me take a couple of cottages our into the woods for a week and go mountain biking. The first trip was Brush cottage; 9 girls, three staff, some tents, some Colman stoves, lots of spaghetti, and a bunch of bikes I pulled together from my own supply. It was awesome, but we needed more bikes.

That summer I was lamenting with a colleague of mine named Ann McIntosh, about my bicycle woes. I was a decent mechanic, but I had little resources to work with and she sympathized with my efforts. About an hour later she asked if I had anywhere to put 50 bikes, and I almost fainted. She had called the Laramie Police Department and asked if they could donate a few bicycles to help out the program. They donated their entire recovered/stolen bicycle stockpile. We were in dept to them, but they didn't stop there. They have been donating their bicycles to the kids at the Cathedral Home ever since. The Program at the Cathedral Home wouldn't exist without their kind donations.

So, to Eve Newman, Ann McIntosh, Laramie Police Department, and a whole bunch of people that we will mention on the next installment of this history lesson, Thank You So Much for making the Pedal A Way program possible.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bicycle Love

Sometimes life will bring about challenges that we are not expecting. Look at stage eight of the Tour de France this year. It seems the American Favorite, Lance Armstrong, has fallen from grace and yet he continues to ride. Now let us be clear, I am not a Lance Armstrong fan. I believe that most people admire Lance simply out of the love of a champion. I think his fame is simple; people who do not watch cycling on a regular basis admire him the same way people who know little about basketball admire Kobe Bryant. He simply gets a great deal of press. I admire Lance's skills, but he isn't my favorite rider. Andy Schleck was my pick of the year. (Pictured in Yellow)

But there is something to be learned from Lance's Tour this year. He is out of it. He has failed miserably, and not because of something he did. In fact, he was riding an outstanding ride. Cadel Evans cracked under the pressure of yellow, and is a broken shell of a man at his own hands. But Lance was taken out by other's mistakes. And still Lance rides on. Instead of packing up and heading home, he has reinvented himself as a support rider for his teammate and hopeful podium contender Levi Leipheimer. He rides simply out of his love of the sport, and his commitment to the other riders. That is something I admire about him. I am never happy to see someone fail at their endeavors, but I love to watch when people accept the challenges of life and remain a positive member of the community. Kudos Lance, from the Pedal House.