#TeamJetlagged is excited to announce the start of a new blog series: Ride Stories!
Some of these stories might feature #TeamJetlagged members, Courtney and Broche, and some of them might be from Featured Jetters who have experiences to share that require more than a brief interview. Either way, we hope you enjoy, and if you have a Ride Story of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out so we can share your story, too!
This first story is Broche’s adventure doing the Bike the Bridge Ride in Auckland, NZ:
Most of my epic bike ride stories start with me being completely unprepared, doing something at the spur of the moment, and having a hilarious story to tell afterward. I don’t necessarily recommend this, and thankfully I’ve learned enough that I’m actually preparing for this century ride thing we’re doing (you might have heard of it – it’s why we started this blog…), but I am going to share one of those stories with you today.
This is me, back in 2015. I’m about to start riding this fixed-gear bike with a basket on the front in a borrowed helmet, all thanks to my new friends, Kathy and Tracy.
I sat next to Tracy and her son, Nick, on the flight when I moved from America to New Zealand. I was in the window seat, Nick was in the middle, and Tracy was on the aisle. I didn’t know anyone personally in New Zealand, though I was lucky to have a few names, phone numbers, and email addresses of friends-of-friends-of-friends. Tracy became my first in-person Kiwi friend when I turned to her son – a tall, lanky, teenager completely cramped sitting between two women for a 13-hour flight – right before takeoff and said, “Look, we’re going to touch during this flight. Our arms are going to share this arm rest and our legs may brush, so let’s just not worry about it, right?” We laughed, and you could see Nick visibly relax, and Tracy and I spent a few minutes here and there over the course of the flight chatting about New Zealand. By the time we landed, I had another phone number, but this time, it was for someone I actually knew – and it turned out to be one of the best connections of my life.
After settling in to my housesit in Auckland, I gave Tracy a call a couple of days later, and a day or so after that, we got coffee. She took me to meet her friend Kathy at one point, and in the way that continues to amazes me whenever complete strangers offer community and connections, Kathy generously opened her home to me when my housesit was finished a couple of weeks later. I ended up living with Kathy and her wonderful family for several months, and they were always having great adventures!
One morning, I was told that they were doing a bike ride, and they asked if I wanted to come along. I’m up for pretty much anything, so away I went! I wasn’t intending to ride, but somehow I was talked into taking Tracy’s place, and ended up riding a fair portion of the 22km/13mi of the Bike the Bridge ride over the Harbour Bridge in Auckland to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research via MS Auckland and Bike Auckland.
Did I mention there was a big hill? And that I hadn’t ridden a bike in at least a year? And that I was wearing what you see in that picture at the top of this post – not exactly a prime biking outfit? And that it was sort of rain-misting the whole time?
Did you see that big grin on my face? It was so much fun!
Having never participated in a ride like that before, the most amazing surprise was the camaraderie. Complete strangers – serious bikers, people in costume, unicyclists, a vintage bicycle or two – all rode together and wished each other well, laughing and talking like they were old friends. While I don’t think we’ll see costumes or non-sport bikes in Death Valley, I’m really hoping the atmosphere will be just as fun and supportive when we do the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in October.
Also, I really love that while I knew nothing about the event before I got there, I technically participated in a ride to help raise money for a much-needed cause. Makes me feel like I was working my way toward the JDRF ride before I even knew I would be doing it.
Here’s another cool thing – as I sat down to write this post, I looked up the Bike the Bridge ride in Auckland – it’s in 10 days!
So if you’re anywhere near Auckland, head on over to the bike route next Sunday and cheer those riders on! They’ll appreciate it.
Don’t forget to DONATE today to help us raise $11k for diabetes research during our JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, CA this October 2018!