I grew up in a rural town of Ligonier, closer to Wawaka, which consists of a church, a feed mill, and a post office. My journey to cycling started when I was too small to even ride a bike. Mom would put me on the back of her blue Schwinn and take long rides around the countryside where we lived. Around the time I was 5 years old, I got my first bike for Christmas, complete with streamers and a rainbow unicorn branded across the frame, I couldn’t wait to get out to ride it. After a couple of falls, I got the hang of it and loved being on my bike.
Once I was capable to ride on my own, my mom would take me for rides around the block on warm summer days as my chaperone. Eventually, I was big enough to go alone, and gradually started making longer journeys with friends to the closest diner with the best pies in Topeka. Six miles was quite a stretch for a preteen, but the food was always worth the ride.
Fast forward to me moving to Fort Wayne in 2002. I desperately tried to find ways to commute to the mall from Canterbury Green, and believe it or not, I figured it out. It was exhausting fighting traffic on the bike I got when I was 12, which I had long outgrew at 19; but at the time I was a broke college student trying to save gas. Once I moved downtown, I bought a cherry red cruiser and began to find it easier to get around on my bike because it fit. I also discovered easier routes and our Greenway. I had a renewed sense of freedom and enjoyment of riding that I once had when I was a kid.
Now I commute to my office, which is about 4.5 miles from my house via the Greenway trail. I enjoy every minute of sunshine, birds, and friendly smiles along the way. Any chance I can hop on my Scott Hybrid, I do. I love that I’m minutes from downtown, can ride to any of our events, to get groceries, and even grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Over the years I’ve grown as a cyclist, implementing more safety measures, understanding bike maintenance, and appropriate prep for each ride.
I joined Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne because I see a need for a voice in our community: for safety of our cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. If I can help in some small way to achieve that, then I’m happy to be here. I also see a need of empowering other cyclists who may see themselves as not fitting the mold of what magazines might depict as a cyclist. It truly is for everyone. I think of those childhood rides, when the training wheels came off all the way up to riding with friends or family on gorgeous summer days. If it can bring joy to so many, then that’s where I want to be!