So, what’s it like to travel across the state with 13 dudes? Well, most of it would be pretty much what you expect: bodily noises, questionable jokes and impressive amounts of alcohol consumed.
Being one of two ladies along for the Solar bear ride last week (Amy Canter the other!) , I can just speak for myself, but to me, it’s like a rolling band of brothers. I grew up mostly around two brothers, my sister came around when I was a bit older, so I knew how to punch and how to roll with the punches.. and how to take a (bad) joke or two.
Fast forward (a few) years, I found myself drawn to bikes and wanted to keep up with the guys that were riding them. Any relationship I was in, had to understand that most of my friends were men and most of my weekends were spent chasing them.
I met Matt Canter when I wondered into Ken’s Bike Shop in Reynolda Village at the tender age of 22. . ( And Ken, well.. that’s another story.. I ended up marrying him)
Matt and I were instant friends and we always found ourselves together on some crazy bike adventure. Matt is not a real talkative guy, but we seemed to get each other and without many words were comfortable around each other. I was fairly naive when I first started hanging at the shop, and it wouldn’t take much to turn me a few shades of red.
But within a year or two, I figured out how to turn that around and my mind easily spiraled into the gutter. I also learned how to ride bikes faster and found riding a fun escape and a way to make life time bonds.
So last year, that life time bond talked me into riding 270 mostly flat miles to the beach with a bunch of guys for a great cause. The Solar Bear ride is a spin off from one of my husband's first charity rides for the community. The “Polar” bear was an annual New Year’s day ride that Ken’s bike shop put on to raise money for local charities.
When Cancer Services took over the Polar Bear Ride several years ago, attendance was falling and they put a lot of effort into a ride that was no longer raising much money. So a few of Ken’s customers came up with the “Solar Bear” ride , to raise more money for Cancer Services.
Scott Sexton gave it momentum and Matt took the lead for the bike shop and joined forces with a small group of guys that started growing in number over the years. I hopped on last year because.. well honestly, Matt invited me and it was something different.
While I didn’t know many of the guys in the group that well, we all shared a common bond: to cycling, to health, and to that feeling of freedom when your on a bike. And there’s also a feeling of safety when your on common ground with folks. Like a band of brothers, you know your going to be OK around them.