Fundraising bike ride recap: We did it!

Dunreith and Aidan before heading to Glencoe.

We did it.

It was cold and rainy and windy beyond all compare, but we kept going and finished the ride.

Dunreith, Aidan and I kicked off the 100 kilometers by leaving at 8:00 a.m. and biking to Glencoe and back.

Dunreith and I were thrilled that Aidan joined us in honoring her father and my stepmother, both of whom died earlier this year.

The weather was crisp and clear, although the sky was a bit ominous.

From there, Dunreith and I headed south to 4501 N. Clarendon, the home of Kuumba Lynx.   On the way, we noticed that we were going much faster and in higher gears than usual because of the hefty winds propelling us forward.

Once we arrived, we met Maya, a KL alum who also lives in Evanston.  Dunreith decided to head back home and Maya and I set off south for the South Shore Cultural Center.

Meeting Maya from Kuumba Lynx at 4501 North Clarendon Ave.

The rain started in earnest around Belmont, shortly after we connected with Justin, who works for Alternatives, an organization that collaborates often with Kuumba Lynx.  The three of us braved the water on the bike path, and, buffeted by the wind, kept on heading south to the center.

At times, it felt like we could for miles without pedaling because the wind was so strong.

The only problem was that we had to return. Unfortunately, the wind had not changed position. The ride home got off to an inauspicious start as Maya’s back tire got a flat, so she took a bus home.

It got harder when Justin and I started biking directly into the wind and rain, which had picked up by the time we resumed our ride.

Justin and Maya at the South Shore Cultural Center before we biked home.

At one point, he said, “If I don’t pedal, I’ll go backwards.”

Justin had a work event last night, so got off at the 47th Street exit to take a bus home.

This left me with about 15 miles of the wind, the rain and my bike.

My bike has 24 gears, and I usually bike in the top eight of them.

Yesterday, though, I spent plenty of time in gears nine through sixteen.

The toughest part was the section of Lake Shore Drive right in front of Ava’s house.  I literally felt like I was working as hard as I could to crawl at a pace that couldn’t have been more than 5 miles per hour.   The layers of clothes I had packed at Dunreith’s advice got wetter and wetter, and heavier and heavier.

The rain and wind blew the waves from Lake Michigan onto the bike path.

Fortunately, my slow pace meant that I had plenty of time to think.

I thought about some of the last conversations I had with Marty, when I would tell him that I was planning to run the marathon in his honor (My Achilles flared up, so I did the ride instead.).

I thought about watching a movie with Dad, Diane and Lee Childs the last time I ever saw Diane.

I thought about Jacinda and Jaquanda and the rest of the Kuumba Lynx family that has been building and growing and transforming kids’ lives for nearly 15 years.

I thought about how much I admire all the members of the Dart Society who deal with issues of trauma and violence around the world.

I thought and pedaled, and my thoughts gave me strength and purpose.

I completed the 18 miles on the bike path a little more than 2 hours after I started and called Dunreith.  We made a plan to meet near our house so that we could finish the ride together.

The lakefront stretch along Sheridan Road in Evanston felt like those parts in horror movies when the vanquished villain sticks a final bony hand up through the grave as I had to bike through the wind one final time.

Fittingly, the sky started to clear and the rain ended just as Dunreith and I met on South Boulevard and biked the final mile home together.

The whole ride ended just before 4:00 p.m., or close to 8 hours after it began.

I had never biked more than 45 miles before yesterday, so am proud of the physical accomplishment.

I’m very grateful that the three of us did the ride together as a family.

And I’m honored that so many people responded to our call to honor two loved ones whose physical lives ended and to support two organizations whose missions I wholeheartedly endorse and whose work I support.

Thanks, everyone!

7 responses to “Fundraising bike ride recap: We did it!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Fundraising bike ride recap: We did it! | Jeff Kelly Lowenstein’s Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Jeff we are blessed with your committment to honoring life and proud to have u as a board member. The fact that u rode while I lay healing from a recent bike incident fuels my desire to get back to the work of KL. I am also left to reflect upon my mother who passed two years ago, not a biker but a believer in the good of all folks! Thank you for the contributions you provide upon your own life journey they are felt by many ! u

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Jacinda, for your kind and profound words. They mean a lot to me because I think so highly of Jaquanda, you and the work you and the rest of the KL family do. I appreciate your thoughts about your mother, too. She sounds like a wise and wonderful lady.

      Justin and Maya both were troopers, and Justin in particular sounded excited to plan a ride with more people in the spring. By that time I am optimistic you’ll be better so that we can all go together! 🙂 In the meantime, please focus on your healing and send regards to your family.

      Jeff

  3. The Windy City lived up to its reputation…and so did you, Jeff. Once you make up your mind to take on a challenge, professional or physical, you make things happen. Plus you bring others along with you, reporters, spouses, sons, friends, and people like me, who root from you from afar and take pride not only in your successes but in the spirit you bring to the challenge. Good stuff, and it rubs off on us, spurs us to keep challenging ourselves and extending our reach. Thank you!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks as always for your kind and generous words of support, PT. They mean an awful lot to me because I think so highly of you. Doing the bike ride was yet another way to learn from you, and to gain inspiration from your strength, example and courage.

      Let’s try to catch up before your latest jaunt south. In the meantime, thanks again for the continuous support. I appreciate it and you more than I can express.

      Jeff

  4. Pingback: Kuumba Lynx’s Arts Explosion a must see. | Jeff Kelly Lowenstein’s Blog

  5. Pingback: Dart Society » Blog Archive » Oh Yes He Did Bike 100km!

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