Last Sunday Laura and I and our friend Ruth rode the Bike the Drive in Chicago. It’s an event that supports the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. A 15-mile stretch of beautiful Lake Shore Drive is closed off from Bryn Mawr on the North side, to 57th Street on the South side. The ride starts at 5:30am – perfect time to see the sun rise over Lake Michigan. And they boot everyone off the Drive and onto the lakefront paths at around 9:45am, if you haven’t finished. You start in the middle and head North or South, then come back and head the other way if you want… The full circuit is a little over 30 miles.
Laura’s training for Cowalunga – a 190 mile bike ride benefiting the Respiratory Health Association of Metro Chicago – the same folks that put on the Hustle. She saw this as an opportunity to get her feet wet on a longer ride and dragged our fannies along. Plus, it sounded like a lot of fun! We’d thought about it, but we hadn’t done it before. I have little doubt we’ll be doing it again…
In the top picture, that’s Laura kinda hanging back. Like in so many areas of life, sometimes she likes to let me lead – lets me think that I’m in charge… I had every intention of only doing half – but I decided to go a little farther… Laura left me and Ruth in the dust for the second half of the ride. And, using our better judgment, we let her.
We all did the Northbound ride (it's much hillier than one would imagine!) On the Southbound ride, Ruth and I turned back at around 35th Street… Laura finished the entire circuit.
The middle pictures are from my cell phone camera heading North into the city. It was so cool to see a normally-very-busy city street with just thousands of bicycles. The bottom picture is me, Laura and Ruth.
The odometer on my bike said 26.79 miles when we got home. Laura’s fancy Garmin has apparently proven that my odometer is, like, 5% overstated… Whut-evurrrrr… It’s still lotsa miles.
It never doesn’t dawn on me, whether I’m pulling into the stairwell on the 90th floor, or whether I’m riding my bike in the middle of Lake Shore Drive, or even if I’m taking a walk with Laura, or doing laundry, or pushing a grocery cart – this was all part of her gift to me.
Her Mom said that Kari said “Why wouldn’t you give someone else a chance to live if you couldn’t anymore!!” I wonder if she knew that this would be so much more than a “chance to live” for me – I wonder if she knew that it would be so much more than any life I’d ever dreamed possible.
As “healthy” as I ever was with my old cystic fibrosis lungs – I would have never, ever imagined riding my bike for 26 miles. How cool is that?!? And I always think of her… And I think of her family… And the friends I’ve met because of her – her friends. I don’t need a bike ride to hear her whisper, but it sure makes her whisper easier to hear.
This is what you do for others when you make the decision to become an organ donor. This is what Kari and her family did for me.