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As we are winding down our big bike trip, with only 2 more track stops until the Grands, we have been invited to stay longer at the Cindy Verburg Dayton track a little longer. One of the local riders who has been in BMX for many years, Jeff Hamilton, invited us to check out the Bicycle Program he’s developing at the Life Enrichment Center down t street from the track. After a leisurely morning in the camper, the Beast, Frankenbutt and I jumped on our bikes and rode over to his facility.
The Bicycle center only opened this past April and already there are community volunteers bringing their talents to help promote safe bicycling in the city of Dayton for all members of the community, especially the disadvantaged. There are age appropriate programs including one that teaches 3rd grade and lower important safety issues and 4th grade and higher bike assembly and maintenance.
We thanked Jeff for the tour and wished him lots of success with his program. It’s one that could be modeled around the country. Bicycles have changed the world since their invention and they continue to breathe life into communities. I hope our country continues to build bike paths and bike lanes. In addition, we need education programs (starting in elementary grades and up) that teach drivers and cyclists to respect one another and co-exist on shared roads.
It’s been cool and comfortable here for the last few days and the evenings have even been chilly. We sat around talking about tracks and what makes one better than the other, occasionally throwing more scrap wood on, to keep the fire going. Soon, Shawn dropped in (sorry for the prior misspelling) and we found ourselves talking about how to shape tracks so that they are still “beginner” friendly and yet offer the first level of training towards Olympic competition. Mike cracked us up when he told us how he went onto a BMX online forum and asked “what is the best track feature to have once the rider leaves the starting gate?”. One by one, other forum participants busted on him by offering crazy stuff straight out of the BMX movie “RAD”, like “moguls” and “ant hills”.
The Beast offered her 2 cents about the features she liked and didn’t like on his track, noting that overall, she really liked this track. Jaice pointed out that he’d like a tabletop. It was good to hear them all throwing out ideas and brain storming both serious and seriously funny ways to change the track. Let’s face it: BMX rocks! Baseball, soccer and football would all be that much more exciting if you could change the features of the playing field, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awesome if players had to jump over doubles in the Super Bowl just to get to the end zone??
Mike’s wife, Vikki (sorry for the earlier misspelling), joined us at the track and we realized it was getting late when she bowed out around 11:30. The laughing, talking and busting on one another went on past 1 am. We all finally gave into our yawns and tired bodies and said good night. Lucky for me, it was just a short walk back to the camper and a nice comfy bed. I was so tired, I almost forgot to remove my contacts. I drifted off to sleep enjoying the memories that this track has given us.
On Saturday, we’ve been invited to spend the day with P.A.L. director, Jaime, and his wife, Linda. She also said I could use her washer and dryer while visiting and I believe I’ll take her up on that.