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The Day I Decided to Quit Making Excuses

The Day I Decided to Quit Making Excuses

For those of you that follow us or know us, you may have figured out that we have moved out of Wyoming and down to the Denver, CO area.  And, boy, what a change that has been. 

 Working, running a business, and riding bikes as a single mom

We’ve gone from being able to drive 15 miles in 15 minutes to driving 3-5 miles in 15 minutes.  From watching for deer, antelope, and horses to watching out for cars running red lights or slamming on their brakes.  From 35 acres surrounded by miles and miles of endless gravel roads to a third floor apartment overlooking city streets.  From jumping on my bike right at the house for a gravel grinding adventure to trying to figure out which street to cross to find a paved path.  From saying, “Hey, you got the kids this weekend?  I’m headed south for a few days to go mountain biking” to “Sorry, I can’t. I don’t have anyone to watch the girls.”

 

So, yeah, here I am… a single mom living in a 2 bedroom apartment with my 2 amazing daughters.  It’s cramped and we don’t have a yard.  Their dad is in Wyoming and isn’t there to take over child care at a moment’s notice (and they miss him too and act out sometimes because of it, which makes the apartment feel that much smaller).  Hmmm, what to do?  I know!  I’ll start throwing myself a pity party.  Everyone loves a good party, right?

 How to do the things you love as a single mom

Ha!  Well, that went over like a stinky fart in church.  Do you know how much energy it takes to be mad, disgruntled, and feeling like nothing is ever going your way?  If not, it takes a HELL OF A LOT of energy to keep the pity party going.  And, I was tired already, I definitely was not willing to expend even more energy on pitying myself.

 

I get home from work 14 hours after leaving my house for my 12 hour shift and think, “man, it would be nice to get up and go for a ride tomorrow.”  But, I only have a babysitter for the days I work.  So, I’m either at work or with the kids.  I was going CRAZY.  I was getting grumpy.  I was getting short with my kids.  I mean, my bike is my lifeline.  It is my therapist.  It’s where I daydream and solve problems.  It’s where I fall in love and make friends.  It’s my happy place, and I needed to get back to that happy place ASAP.

 

So, I used money I didn’t really need to spend and hired a gal to come watch my tiniest human on Tuesday mornings while her sister is in school so I could jump on the bike path and ride quickly to the downtown REI and back.  It’s about a 27 mile round trip ride.  Pretty perfect for a quickie if you ask me.  I started calling my ride $40 Tuesdays.  And, I also started noticing the bank account take note of my $40 Tuesdays.  Ugh……back to feeling like I’d never get to ride again. 

 Getting creative being a single mom and still riding bikes with a Burley Bike Trailer

Then, it dawned on me…how many $40 Tuesdays would it take to buy a bike trailer?  Then I could pull the tiny human!!!  Wow, what a fantastic idea (okay, okay, I admit it…maybe I was so involved in re-entry to my pity party that someone else may have nudged me to get a bike trailer – oh, thank you “someone else” – you know who you are).  I started putting the $40 and a little extra aside, looked for the trailer to go on sale, and viola, I became the proud owner of the Burley Designs Bee bike trailer!  My little one was STOKED when she found out what it was for.

 Burley Bee Bike Trailer

We got the trailer on a Wednesday night.  After dropping my oldest daughter off at school on Thursday we drove home in a rush to put the trailer together.  My youngest daughter coached me to “hurry up mamma” the entire time.  We (meaning me) finally got it put together – in fact it was super simple -- and hitched it to the bike.  We set out for our first big adventure with toys and snacks packed too.  We didn’t make it to REI that day, but we did make it 20.5 miles.  She didn’t quit talking the entire ride.  She was in awe at how fast she was going and all of the things she could see.  We both finished the ride with huge grins on our faces.  Me, because I got to ride my bike without sacrificing limited time with my kiddo (or money), and I got a killer workout on the flats.  Her, because she got to experience a new adventure, see where momma goes when she leaves with her bike, and hang out with mamma who’s normally gone for so many hours per day.  But the best part, was that we got to adventure together and we both finished the adventure with full and happy hearts.

 

Bikes are great ways to see Denver...and any city. Now go ride your damn bike.

Since that day, Thursday has become our traditional bike with mamma in the trailer day.  We both look forward to it.  She can now make it all 27 miles and really enjoys our “lunch date” at the Starbucks in the downtown Denver REI.  We also hang out and play at Confluence Park and just get a little extra alone time on Thursdays – it’s pretty amazing!

 

Me?  Well, pity party has ended and even though we miss the country life, our new life in Denver is pretty rad.  The urban street art we see on our rides is amazing.  The city landscape can be pretty cool as well.  There is so much to do.  Our apartment is cozy and the kids love having a pool and hot tub.  There is so much ethnicity and good food to go along with that. My kids are not afraid of people that are different and I’m watching them want to help those in need (all on their own, with no encouragement).  Our balcony has turned into a comfortable spot to sit with friends and have drinks or talk.  All of the neighbors know the girls and the girls know all of the neighbors’ dogs’ names ;-).  So, nah, Denver isn’t so bad.  In fact, it’s pretty magical…if you just look around – looking around on a bike seems to help change the perspective too. 

 

Not making excuses and solving the problem allows you to take time to look around and be in your moment.  What is your #nomoreexcuses moment?

Eliza

Lover of Bikes, Lover of Life, Lover of Humans in My Life, and Co-Founder of SOLIDarity Cycling.

Concussion Awareness and the Brain Injury Alliance of Wyoming

Concussion Awareness and the Brain Injury Alliance of Wyoming

  According the CDC, "

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI." At Solidarity Cycling, we have had our own brush with concussions and TBI. Our co-founder and CEO, Eliza Russell, recently experienced a severe concussion during a crash while riding on a gravel road outside Casper, WY during preparation for a 130 mile gravel race that she will not participate in. She doesn't remember the actual crash, but looking at her Strava statistics during this particular ride, her speed shows her going from 24 mph to 0 instantaneously. And her head was one of the first things to hit the ground. She estimates she lost conscience for about 15 minutes.

Solidarity Cycling womens cycling clothing

  Eliza was wearing a helmet from Lumos at the time of her crash. Fast forward almost 6 weeks later, and Eliza is still feeling the effects of her crash and subsequent concussion. Headaches, short-term memory loss, emotional distress, and many other debilitating effects that continue to linger. Only recently was she allowed to drive, and she has trouble looking at a computer screen for any length of time. She was recently given the go-ahead to ride a stationary bike for short periods of time, but experienced a set-back in her recovery. It's beyond frustrating for someone who just wants to ride and be outside. So we want something positive to come from this incident to bring more awareness to concussions, and hopefully raise some money at the same time.

See image below which is Eliza's Lumos Helmet post crash.

Lumos helmet after crash

  We are calling it "Miles for Eliza". Those of us in the Solidarity family are partnering with the Brain Injury Alliance of Wyoming (BIAW) to build more awareness about identifying concussions, but also ways to improve your odds of avoiding a concussion and what to do if you or someone you know suspects they have a concussion. So, we are picking up Eliza's training miles where she can't from today through the end of May. We have set up a donation page with BIAW with a fundraising goal of $3000 so anyone can make even a small donation that can make a huge impact for someone else.

Our donation page can be found HERE

  We also encourage everyone to join us on our Instagram page and follow along, or even contribute your own image while putting in your own #Miles4Eliza by writing on a card, your arm, your jersey with #Miles4Eliza or #MilesforEliza and #ConcussionAwareness written on it to help spread the message for more concussion awareness, and also to raise more money. And if you have questions about concussions please just ask. And, always, wear your helmet whenever you or one of your kids is riding their bike. Even an innocent crash at low speed can cause a concussion, and kids are more susceptible to TBI than adults are.

Once again, DONATE HERE, or go to http://bit.ly/Miles4Eliza

Sincerely,

Eric Graham (CMO), and all of our amazing ambassadors who are rallying behind this cause. Special thanks to Stacy Frazer for organizing this amazing fundraising opportunity.