May 20, 2011

From The Executive Director

Posted in From The Executive Director tagged , , at 4:59 pm by Lund


My Mother’s Day Bike Ride
…Or What I Wouldn’t Do for Lund

Recently, we had our third Mother’s Day Bike Ride.   I am still awestruck by the experience. While I am not a cyclist and never have been, when I was asked to be the Captain of the Lund Team this past winter, I agreed. “What the heck, I can do the four-mile ride, and maybe if I train a little, I can even do the 16-mile.”

That thought evaporated as I recalled that I didn’t learn how to ride a two wheeler until 5th grade and was very embarrassed about my minimal cycling skills.  It also made me wonder why the heck I ever thought the bike event would be a good idea, when Board Member, Gene Richards suggested it four years ago.  A run, I would be ALL over, as I love running and have had doing a marathon or half-marathon on my “bucket” list forever (even before there were “bucket lists”).

Well, last weekend, I finally pulled my bike from the back of the garage, untangled it from the soaker hoses, dusted off the major cob webs and spider eggs and tried to get the air in the very flat tires.   After enlisting my husband, Don, getting him the WD40 and some pliers, he was able to get my tires filled.

Saturday evening, I thought, “I had better get on my bike and make sure it is okay before tomorrow’s ride.” I rode around the block and was psyched to be in the four mile ride.

Mother’s Day morning, my daughter, Aviva and I went to Rice High School- Aviva as a volunteer and to be with me on Mother’s day.

We arrived early but got there to find a crowd of cyclists and volunteers set up and ready to go.  Volunteers, including many of our board, staff, and dedicated community members were there much of the weekend getting the event ready to go (including getting there at 4:00 am that day).  It was truly amazing.

It was chilly, but hey, no snow like last year and no rain like the year before!

Our Event Coordinator asked me if I would mind being the trailing rider on the Family Ride, as the trailing rider had bailed out.   “Sure” I said, thinking, hey Brady just helped me to legitimize my bad biking!  I have an excuse and a purpose now.

I was jazzed to see how many families were there riding with their children in tow, as well as so many kids on their first two wheelers, riding with their training wheels still. Lots of the children were decorating their bikes for the ride.  What a lovely and great new tradition for how to celebrate mother’s day, I was thinking. It was heartwarming to see everyone lined up at the start.

The rides were started with a send off by our Board President, Jeff Small and Bike event Co-Chair and Board Member Paulette Thabault.  I had told our board member, and very dedicated bike ride volunteer, Eileen Simollardes that I was a really bad cyclist, but I don’t think she believed me until she saw me take off on the bike all wobbly.  (She later shared with me that she keeps enjoying a good laugh like she had that morning, when she saw me biking and realized I was at least as bad as I said I was!)

I discovered riding slowly is not as easy it sounds.  My new mantra was, okay, biking for me is difficult, but what is life like for a child without a family or for a young single mother balancing school, work and parenting?  Surely these thoughts helped humble me to get over myself!   I had the good fortune of getting to ride behind Henry, the adorable three year old child of our staff member, Courtney.

Henry’s completing this ride was a lot like an adult completing a marathon.  His tiny two-wheeler bike with training wheels and no gears, and his” little engine that could” attitude fueled him along, despite the little hills and dips.

At some point during the ride, I recalled the important lesson learned from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (for those of you who have read the book, you might wonder why I had not thought of the book earlier and maintained my bike in better condition), but I remembered the gist of the book being, it’s not the destination but the ride itself. Not something that I think about or remember very often.   I started taking in the scenery- first the beauty of the season and the trees and views along the South Burlington Bike path.  I was filled with happiness and joy and thought to myself, hey, maybe I should bike to work and ride this bike path at lunch.  This is kind of fun.

There were some wonderful volunteers along the ride cheering us on.   Neighbors were out to watch the cyclists and cheer as well and it was just so fun watching little Henry.

Soon, we started seeing many of the families riding toward us on their way back in to Rice High School.  I was awash with emotion as rider after rider; children and adults were smiling, laughing and having so much fun.

My bike seized up on me, on the ride back and I had to walk it in the last bit of the way. (I knew I should have maintained it better).  I started thinking; I need to get my bike in to be fixed, so that I can keep riding this summer!  I walked back in with Denise Vignoe, the founder and chair of the event for our first two years.   It seemed fitting to get to share with her what a special legacy she created for Lund.

Back at Rice, was my daughter Aviva who ate lunch with me as we dined on the yummy food that was waiting for riders- Boloco burritos, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and so many goodies.
I was so grateful for the chance to experience the ride and to get to see Henry make the ride and see the smiles and reactions of all the riders as they passed me.

I continue to be so grateful to everyone who made this ride so successful- our ride founders, the dedicated volunteers and staff who worked so hard to make it so successful and smooth, our riders, and in particular, my Lund Teammates, as well as our many donors and sponsors.
In addition to creating a wonderful Mother’s Day tradition, this event raised significant funds to support Lund’s services. As I write this, we have raised over $100,000 for our programs and services from the ride.

-Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director

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