Yes, being mayor is just like riding a bike: it's all about balance! And taking a risk, and not being afraid. Finding others who like to ride. Connecting with the beautiful parks and greenway trails in our community, and encouraging others to ride, even when they have doubt.
So when the city's Environmental Quality Commission asked if I would host a Mayor's Bike Ride, of course I said yes! I didn't have a bike, but they had the perfect option: a Spin bike.
It's as simple as downloading the Spin App, and for a small cost, you can be riding in no time. The day came for the first Mayor's Bike Ride, aligning with Porchfest, and the beautiful late summer Sunday soon saw a thundercloud directly over the corner of Capitol Avenue and Marshall Street. I might have said a little prayer that we'd get rained out, and when the sky opened up I felt relief, after all I hadn't been on a bike since my childhood in the 1980s. Well, with one exception when those travel writers visited JCMO, and I joined them at Prison Brews to brag about our great Capital City.
They invited me to ride bikes with them to the Capitol a few blocks away where ice cream sundaes awaited for dessert. I politely declined; I had no bike, I'll drive. No problem, they had a trailer full of bikes. Hmm. Well I had no helmet. Again, they did. I was wearing a skirt and wedge shoes. They said they couldn't help me with that, and while all looked the other way, I was on the bike, flowing down Capitol Avenue. I felt like I was a kid again!
I'm thankful dad helped me learn how to ride a bike. First with training wheels, then just two wheels, then he let go. We wore dirt paths going in circles around the house, my little sister, Helen, and I riding our bikes, and our little brother, George, too young to ride, running around and around the house following his big sisters. Then I had a 10-speed and I couldn't ride enough back then. Looking back, I'm not sure why I didn't continue riding. Sixteen came and my Chevrolet Cavalier.
Then the call came, could I reschedule the Mayor's Ride. And there I was on Capitol Avenue, and the fear came back. Could I still ride? Did I have the ability to balance and stay upright? And if I fell, the whole world would see. Literally! A News Tribune reporter and photographer arrived before I did, so they could document the whole thing. NO PRESSURE!
I borrowed a helmet, and then it was that moment, others assisted as I got on, and then I felt like I was a little girl again, with doubt, could I still do this? I was shaking, afraid I'd fall, not sure if I could balance and as witnessed by the Tribune, it took me a minute to get my bearings.
I put the fear aside, hit the pedals, and I was off! That same freedom came back, even better because this time I got to use the bike lanes on Capitol Avenue! Seeing the beautiful improvements there, and the homes soon to be under renovation, then a stroll through downtown, I was out in front of the pack! Because, I had a team telling me I could do it, and they were right.
I love the flexibility of the Spin bike program. The app will show you where the bikes are in town, and you can enjoy all Jefferson City has to offer by bike.
The ride inspired me, and I'd like to buy a bike of my own. I just need to find a helmet with some sparkle. What a great way to go between downtown and city hall. My little sister, who followed me around the house on her bike back then, now rides in triathlons and bikes the Katy Trail and beyond. I was lucky to just go around the block, but now I look forward to riding the Katy with her someday soon.
Another reason to get excited about biking locally is the Bicentennial Bridge. By 2021 we'll be able to bike/walk/run (or just sit and enjoy) from the Capitol, over the railroad tracks, to the riverfront park, enjoying views of our city we've never had the opportunity to enjoy. I can't wait to ride there!
Grab your Spin bike and helmet and join me, it's easy! #MayorTergin #BikingMayor