Today marked a great day, filled with lots of snow (the lifeline of the winter economy) and lots of friends and family. As I said in my last blog, I have struggled to create lasting friendships, so the ones I have are very meaningful to me. Tonight, I gathered with friends, and as the kids played, we talked life. And one statement struck me:
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how people go through life leaving people in their wake. It seems like some people just move through life with no thought, leaving things behind them for others to clean up. Others, I don’t know, they take things slow, contemplate how their actions affect others around them.”
It is true. Many of us are always moving forward, never looking back, never wondering how others have dealt with the choices we have made, sometimes haphazardly. Then my other friend made this response:
“Maybe the people in the wake needed that motion. Maybe they were stalled out and couldn’t move forward without that. We don’t know how our actions or inactions affect others, sometimes we just need to think about ourselves and what we need in our lives.”
It was also a great point and both thoughts led me to this post. I have written a lot about how cycling has personally affected me in a positive way, but today I want to broaden the scope. How does cycling, and the community, sport, and related organizations, help the world as a whole?
We have all heard of the butterfly effect, the idea that a small action can cause things beyond our comprehension, that we all are intertwined, So the question is: what impact do you want to have in your life?
A few years ago, I began to make the move away from bartending, and the lifestyle that encouraged (late hours, poor diet, excessive drinking), and into a more stable job with hours that allowed me to be a more active and present mom. I was lucky enough to land at Alpine Cycle Connection, and not only work at a great locally based company, but also be a part of an industry and community that has changed the road map of my life drastically.
I look at the “wake” I am leaving as I have transitioned into this new part of my life, and feel joy. Even more so, I know that when I am in “inaction”, I am still making a positive influence.
I love cycling. I love the community. I love the love that cyclists have for the sport, how they want to make it grow and spread the love. I am so happy to be a (very small) part of something so great. When I rode out of my hometown with 100 other cyclists all riding to raise money for the Axel Project, I felt the wake as we were leaving, one of a conscious desire to spread the joy of cycling to another generation. There is nothing like the feeling of a whole community joining together to make a true and vibrant change (please read Why We Ride for more on this). When I ride the Gran Fondo Hincapie, I see a ride created out of a cyclists love for the sport. I see the Hincapie Development Team riding and see a group of riders being given the chance to make the sport they love a real career (yes, it can be a career but a tough one, read Julian Kyer’s VeloNews piece here). I love being a part of that ride and supporting a company that is creating cyclists like Joey Rosskopf (I got to meet him and made him take a picture with me, see below) and Robin Carpenter, its inspiring!
Every ride I work has a cause: literacy, environment, health, etc. I am proud to be a part of a sport that gives back. I am happy to say that even my small contribution is a piece of the puzzle that will produce something great. Cycling has allowed me to give back to my community and the world as a whole.
All of us move through this world leaving behind a wake of some sort. While we cannot control all of its effects, we can influence whether our wakes makes others sink or helps guide them towards land. It is my hope that the rides I support and ride on will help me change the impact of the motions I make in life, and will lead me and others in a positive direction.