Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Origin Story

For most of you, riding your bike around the neighborhood was a normal part of growing up. Not me. Neither of my parents knew how to ride, and since they were busy getting divorced around the time most kids I knew were getting training wheels, I don’t think it ever occurred to them that I might need a hand in this department. A couple of friends tried to teach me to ride in college, but it ended badly: I have a sad scar on my knee to show for it, and not much else.

So why am I learning to ride a bike right now?

1. To raise money for people with diabetes

It’s an ambitious idea, but one that seems to resonate with others. Over the course of 3 months I intend to learn to ride a bike and then train to ride in the June 14 Tour de Cure fundraiser in Reston, Va.
Having worked at the American Diabetes Association for the past 2 years, I know firsthand that this organization is doing crucial work to support research, education, and treatment for the millions of people affected by diabetes. By supporting my ride, you will be doing your part to help fight this terrible, life-threatening disease.

2. To get back in shape after falling out of love with exercise

One of the other things I’ve learned at the ADA is how important exercise is for managing my diabetes. The better my muscles are working, the better they can help my body use glucose, which is the big issue in diabetes. Yay, muscles!
I’ve also come to believe that for those of us who are not natural athletes, a good motivator for exercise is finding something new to do—even if it means reinventing your workout time and again. The excitement of learning to ride is pushing me forward (even though, frankly, I’d rather be reading a book).

3. To be a role model for my daughter

Soon, it will be time for Edith to learn how to ride a bike. And yes, her dad could teach her without my help. But I want her to have the example of an active mom—and one who takes on big challenges.

Doing the impossible

It’s worth pointing out that at this very moment, the prospect of getting on a bike and pedaling forward seems impossible. I just don’t understand how anyone does it! And the physics of bicycling, while intelligible, are fundamentally alien to me. Think for a moment about something that feels impossible in your life. Yep, it’s like that. But I also know that, with the help of friends and family, I can do this.

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