Sunday, February 22, 2015

Knocking Down Barriers Between the Rider and the Ride

So I’m in San Jose right now. The reason is a long story, but a subplot of that long story is that I’m trying to learn about the bike culture in Silicon Valley. As you know I’ve already done two California adventures - biking the 17 Mile Drive last year and doing a long tour (and finding a lost cell phone near Anaheim) a year before that - but California is kind of a big state. 

I’m off to a slow start - but I did take my Bike Friday out for a couple of rides so far. To keep my friends from hating me for escaping the Hoth-like conditions of Connecticut, I don't say anything on the internet about the sunshine and palm trees I’ve encountered. 

To try and get a feel for the culture (and buy some much-needed lubricant for my chain) I did visit the Mike’s Bikes location on Lincoln Avenue in San Jose - a very nice and welcoming shop.

(sorry: I thought I had taken a photo of Mike's Bikes on Lincoln Avenue but I didn’t).

The customer service there is extraordinary. For instance, if a jet lag-addled Connecticut cyclist picks up lube off the shelf, pays for said lube, and walks out of the store leaving said lube on the counter, an associate at Mike’s Bikes will run outside, track this cyclist down, and tap on the window of said cyclist's rental car to give him said lube.

(The only problem I had with Mike’s Bikes was the sign outside of the shop that read ‘Challenge the Weather: Ride a Bike’ It gave me a smirk. It’s February with temperatures flirting with 70. Go to Connecticut and and learn about how to ’challenge the weather.’)

West Beach in Stamford, CT, - 2014

But I’m getting off the subject.

I wasn’t even planning on writing a post this morning but then I saw this terrific story from Rob Roth on  KTVU: a mom in San Jose is trying to raise money to pay for a bike for her special needs son. All this boy wants to do is ride a bike but there is a barrier - and having a barrier between a rider and a ride is something we can all relate to. 

But while most of my friends in the Northeast have a barrier that involves simple patience (waiting for the weather to be less Jerry Bruckheimer film-like) this mom has a bigger barrier: a bike for a special needs 9-year-old is expensive - so a GoFundMe site was created to raise funds to buy it. 

Cyclists in the Northeast: put down your ice scrapers, stop pedaling on parabolic rollers in front of the Mythbusters pirate special DVD for the hundredth time, and make a small donation. Just think of the joy Tony and his mom will feel when this barrier to cycling falls and he can go riding. And if you can't help Tony try to find someone else who has a non-weather related barrier and help them out. Either way, you will do some good and kill some time while you wait for your own barrier between you and riding to, literally, melt away into nothingness. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

1 comment:

  1. One way Bostonians fought the winter to bike...