Win Some, Win Some

During the Nashville Community Education educators showcase back in January, attendees were invited to drop their name in the hat for a series of raffle prizes – two of which were a one-hour Bike Fun session on a topic of their choosing.

I met up with one of the raffle winners last night at her house. She had sent me pictures of her bike, which looked to be in decent repair – no rusty chain or dry-rot tires; had indicated a desire to be able to ride on the greenway near her workplace; and said she hadn’t ridden in a while.

Upon further inspection of the bike, there were definite issues with the gears and brakes (which would necessitate possibly replacing the cables and/or cable housing, at the most; at the least, a derailleur adjustment and brake adjustment). She kept her bike stored out of the weather – which is always the ideal situation – but started to look a little crestfallen as I pointed out the things that needed to be addressed to make the bicycle mechanically safe to ride.

As we went through fitting and putting the bike rack on the trunk, and talking about getting the bike repaired, she mused, “Maybe I’ll get it fixed up, and give it to my grandson instead.”

We worked on sizing the bike to her – the size was a “men’s” small, which fit for standover; saddle height was good; her reach was a little stretched so I suggested getting a shorter handlebar stem or replacing it with an adjustable one for more upright, closer positioning.

Going over basic maintenance – cleaning the drivetrain and fixing a flat – was helpful, she said.

I fit the trunk bike rack (“my hat rack,” she called it) onto her car (a gift from her daughter, purchased at Aldi – man, that store has some bike-related goodies worth checking out from time to time!)

As we went through fitting and putting the bike rack on the trunk, and talking about getting the bike repaired, she mused, “Maybe I’ll get it fixed up, and give it to my grandson instead.”

I was a little sad to hear that, but then she continued, “It’s not fair that I’m not riding this bike and someone else could!”

She said she might look into getting another bike sometime in the future, but in the meantime would continue to enjoy her walks. So, someone’s bike journey is put on pause, and another’s can begin.

As much as I want people out riding bikes, the more important story for me is knowing that I gave factual, useful information to someone who then made her own decision about how to proceed.

There are lots of ways to engage your body with the world around you – bike riding is just one of a myriad of options. (Admittedly, I think it’s one of the best ways – and I’ll do the best I can to encourage it so we have thousands and thousands of bike riders on the streets and greenways and trails of Nashville.) And, even though she opted not to continue her bike riding journey right now, I’ll consider this a win-win situation for both of us.

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