Community Through Biking

Thursday night I crashed on my bike...twice. Thankfully, neither of mine were very serious and I was able to ride away from both of them, albeit with a few broken spokes, bruises, and an out of true wheel. One other good friend I was riding with that night got into a much more serious crash and both broke his collar bone, four ribs, and some additional injuries requiring a number of stitches. Since Thursday, we've also been coming to grips with the news that the daughter of one of our friends that we ride bikes with has perished in the earthquake and landslide in Nepal.

The aftermath of Fred's crash and news of Bailey's death on our community have been hard, to say the least. But they've also been an opportunity for our community to come together as a group and show our support for each other. At Harborview on Friday night, we overheard nurses talking about how Fred was the most visited patient they'd ever had. Riding the elevator to his floor playing "The Boys are Back in Town" helped remind us about the fun we had just had the weekend before, taking logging road shortcuts and dirt trails to Ben Country. Fred is an integral member of our community, and it hurts all of us to see him in pain and hurting. 

While at the hospital, we realized that because Fred had somehow called 911 for himself the night before, the fire department most likely still had his bicycle. Using Seattle's Real Time 911 service, we tracked down the fire department who picked him up, called them, and confirmed they still had his bike. Madi, Dan, and Kyle then went to the fire station and hauled his bike back home. Seeing Madi's instagram post (below) that Fred's bike was safely back in our hands was a very proud moment and really hit home that we have a community that truly cares about each other. Gives me a lot of hope.

Fred's Bike

As I mentioned earlier, our community is also reeling from the news of the death of Bailey Meola. Bailey is the 19 year old daughter of Scott Meola and Rachelle Brown and was trekking through Nepal's Langtang Valley when the earthquake struck in late April. This article talks about their great trip and the search to find them. I did not have the chance to meet Bailey before her trip, and have just recently gotten to know Scott and Rachelle through bike riding. As their family deals with this tragedy, our community has rallied to support them, first financially with an Indigogo campaign for a mission to search for them, and now emotionally (as best as we can) through what is sure to be an unbelievably horrendous time.

What all of this has shown to me- from the friends helping pick me up off the street when I crashed, to rallying around Fred at Harbrorview, to bringing him ice cream as he heals, to sitting together meditating on Sydney and Bailey, is that there is community through bicycling. The outpouring of love and support that I have seen for my fellow bicyclists over the past week has been like nothing I have ever experienced in any other community. There is truly something special happening here. As I continue to process everything that has happened over the past week and what exactly this community is capable of as we come together for each other, it was important for me to put these feelings of gratitude and appreciation into words. All too often, I think we forget how great of an opportunity we truly have and how blessed we are with the amazing folks around each other. This is my way of saying thank you to those people I ride with. You all make Seattle a better place to be, and a better place to ride bicycles.