The Reunification of Chrissy and her Bike
At age 11, I started an anti-bicycle chapter of my life that would go on to last 13 years. For reasons both valid and melodramatic as only a preteen could be, I decided bike riding was not for me, and chose instead to walk places, take public transport, or, as I aged, drive. No longer were the days of biking around my neighborhood for hours on end, or taking weekend rides through forest preserves or local bike trails. I still vividly remember the last ride I took with my dad and step-mom to the air and water show in downtown Chicago on a beautiful August day. Returning home that evening, I lugged my bike down the basement steps one last time, content that I was reaching an age in which I had some control over my methods of transportation.
All of this is relevant due to the possibly life-changing event that took place on the first day back in S New after our long weekend at Tubani So: we received our bikes. For the last two weeks, I have been the owner of a white trek bike with pink and gray swirls AND a purple helmet with flowers, enough to fully reconnect with my inner seven year old. The good news is that riding a bike after all these years is just like … riding a bike (the saying is now a confirmed truth). The first day we got our bikes, we took a bike ride a little outside of town, and it was like I had never stopped riding.
The addition of a bicycle to our village lives has been remarkable. Now we can get to other villages nearby very easily and it has increased our ability to see other volunteers in the area. The past two Sundays we’ve ridden to a nearby town with cold juice and yogurt, relaxed at an air conditioned bar, climbed some rocks with views of the Niger, and enjoyed our freedom. Going to markets and the tailor have been easier, as well.
Overall, I do admit that the bike has bee a pleasant addition to my Malian life. I do not regret my non-bicycle years, but am pleased to have been given a situation through which to reconnect.← The Homestay The Site Announcement →