Her name is Joyce from Champaign, Illinois.
She’s been on 18 long bike trips with her daughter.
“And so now I’m just waiting
for the 5-year-old to get old enough
and then we’ll all bike together.
In the meantime I’m still biking even if I have to come alone.”
Years back, to celebrate her daughter’s graduation from college –
they rode 2000 miles:
From Aberdeen, Washington, to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
They’ve biked all through the South,
along the East Coast. All over Illinois.
This is her first time along the Columbia River.
And she had never biked at all until she was 39.
“But it was something I always wanted to do.
And so I did.”
She is in her 60s now, at least,
because she says,
” . . . when I was still in my fifties . . . “
I want to believe she is 70 or 80,
that age is no limit to how wide-open you can live.
Her face is ageless.
Her wonder at this world childlike.
Back home she has designed the bus wrap for the buses in Champaign. And they’ve used her design on cycling advocacy t-shirts. She used the leftover wrap to make her hi-viz helmet cover.
Why does she bike?
“First, it makes you strong.
Not just physically.
And you learn to trust the kindness of strangers.
And then – well, it’s not that you think deep philosophical thoughts –
I don’t. You’re working too hard.
But you just are filled.
Filled up with sky.
With sun. And trees and birdsong.
It’s enough to last you a little more than a year
and then it’s time to get out on the road again.”
[cross-posted on Imaginary Bicycle]