April 18, 2020
Written by HBL Member, Sarah Chamberlain
See that blonde girl ridding that two-wheel red bike? That’s yours truly learning to ride for the first time in 1981. I remember the wind in my hair that day, and the sense of freedom that came with it. Oh, the speed! Riding down that hill with no care in the world. It was such a wonderful moment in my life. I mean, seriously! Look at the face. Just to paint you a picture here, that bike was that little boy’s in the picture. He was chasing me to give it back, which I politely declined.
Fast forward to the late 80’s; my parents took me to the local bike shop when I was thirteen. I knew right away that the red 10 speed bike was mine. I was never that happy again (well, that’s a lie, but it was a pretty big deal). I used to ride it to my friend’s house six miles away, during the summer months. That is until some kids threw a stick into my friend’s spokes and sent her to the hospital with a concussion (pre-helmet awareness). Our daily rides pretty much ended at that moment. Bike fever didn’t end there though. Shortly after my husband and I got married, we bought our first K2 Zed mountain bikes. On weekends we would head out for a seventeen-mile ride through the forest’s mountain bike paths, or obstacle courses in Michigan. The smell of the pines, the crunch of the leaves, the taste of dirt, the mud and scratches, it made me feel alive; I was hooked again.
In 2003 we moved to Hawaii with our K2’s. It quickly became apparent at the time that bikes weren’t very safe. We sadly sold our K2’s, and I have cried every day since (also an embellishment). As the years went by, Oahu started to become more bike friendly. First King Street was developed, then more and more bike paths began to spring up. After Biki launched, the attitude towards bikers in Hawaii began to change. We were finally developing biker awareness whether people liked it, or not. In 2017, shortly after an unexpected family tragedy, I messaged my brother-in-law, Matthew (Nate’s brother) who works at Trek headquarters in Wisconsin, asking him what kind of Trek that I should get. We went through the details of what I needed, (mainly a commuter bike to get me to and from work). Within two weeks it was at Bike Factory being assembled. Every time I go out riding, I take my water bottle with a sticker of Nate’s face on it. I’ll say, “Come on Nate, let’s go for a ride.” Sometimes, we’ll even stop for a beer.
My favorite ride has become the ride to Hawaii Kai. I’ll pack up my cooler with snacks and make the journey once a week now. You might see me out there. I’m the one on the turquoise Trek, dressed like a competitive cyclist, ridding on my commuter. Sure, I look silly, but I get that two hours (or more depending how often I stop to take pictures) to myself feeling the wind through my helmet and enjoying freedom. I’m certain that all bikers are trying to capture the spirit of their first ride again. If we do that, I feel that we will never age, therefore never having to get off our bikes.
Sarah Chamberlain has been a resident of Hawaii since 2003. She is a published essayist, blogger, photographer, and web-designer. Visit her landing page at www.omvag.com
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