The bike poncho I contributed to on kickstarter should be shipped to me this week, just in time for me to find something else to anticipate getting in the mail (though hopefully this project will be a lot less complicated in production and should ship in the next month or so).
I’ve been wanting something besides a top tube mounted tri bag for my commuter bike, as I can envision myself using this bag for my keys, a breakfast bar, phone, sunglasses and gate remote. Having these things at hand prevents needing to stop and rummage around for them, and anything else I’m taking to work (papers, makeup bag, wallet, emergency items) I can just keep in my handy Mme Velo bag in the back.
This project is almost fully funded, and to be completely honest at the retail of $30 I’d consider just making my own version, so for the discount go ahead and check it out now! As soon as mine arrives I’ll be sure to test it out and share my thoughts!
I’ve done a number of charity rides since I started road biking last year, but the 2016 Ride to Remember was definitely a highlight of my experiences thus far. We started out from Simpsonville, South Carolina on Friday morning with beautiful sunny weather and completed 66 miles to Newberry College by about midday.
Thankfully on day 2, Newberry to Orangeburg, we were blessed with cloud cover for almost all 90 miles. I wasn’t on an organized team but a lot of solo riders who averaged about 17 mph or so grouped up and we managed to stay together for most of days 2 and 3. Overall the route was net downhill, so the main challenge is staying hydrated and reasonably comfortable for the longer mileages.
On day 3, we were again blessed with cloud cover until the last 20 miles crossing Charleston, when those clouds finally let loose a pretty epic thunderstorm. We crossed the West Ashley bridge as lightning hit the water, dodged flooded areas of downtown, and stopped for a quick picture on the Ravenel before finishing our journey at Patriot’s Point. The USS Yorktown is barely visible behind me in the picture above, but I promise, it’s there.
What I can’t really capture in pictures is the incredible feelings of camaraderie and encouragement, and the friendships formed in these 3 days. Most other charity group rides I’ve done feel team-centered or competitive, but this ride is really something special. I’ve never felt so supported on a ride, from the nearly 100 volunteers making sure everything ran as smoothly as possible to the other rides sharing supplies, advice and words of encouragement along the way. Tired as I was by Sunday, I didn’t want the weekend to come to an end.
I would do this ride again in a heartbeat, as long as I’m in the country next year. If my travel plans allow it, you’ll see me at it once again for the 10th anniversary of the ride next year. We raised over $400,000 this year for the Alzheimer’s Association (the annual goal this year was $330,000), so I can’t wait to see what this ride will grow into in years to come.
Whew. All of the feelings are happening as I prepare to head out on the 2016 Ride to Remember from Greenville to Charleston, SC (252 miles in 3 days). Together with 300 other riders we have raised over $350,000 (and counting) towards the fight to end Alzheimer’s Disease.
I’m riding in memory of my grandfather, who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2006. I have many fond childhood memories of him, like riding on his shoulders, working in the yard together, and singing with him in the choir when I visited my grandparents each summer.
There are also painful memories, watching him slip away over the years as the disease took over. Toward the end, we still sang hymns together when conversation failed and he saw me as a stranger.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just take someone out of your life as other diseases do by attacking the body. Alzheimer’s makes you watch helplessly as it sinks its teeth into the bond you have forged with someone over a lifetime, until they are just a shell of their former self.
A year ago I watched others ride in memory of those they have loved and lost, and I knew I wouldn’t miss the opportunity this year.
See you Sunday, Charleston!
Someone apparently read my mind about Charleston and made a movie about it.
Check out the trailer here and stay tuned for festivals and release updates!