Of Bikes and Men
When this guy I’d been “talkin’ to” invited me to go on a community bike ride in Third Ward on New Year’s day, I was all over it. The invite fit in with my plans to be more active, to develop new friendships, and to see Houston in a different light. (Of course, there was also that whole thing about getting to know him a little better too.)
I double checked with him on New Year’s Eve to be sure our plans to meet up were still on. As I’m a single mom (and he is a single dad), I thought that when I told him that in order to make it to the bike ride I’d have to drive 30 miles to Katy to have a sitter for my son, he’d understand the commitment I was making to the event and would respond with equal commitment and integrity.
I guess I was wrong.
After confirming as late as midnight-30 the day of and promising the use of his extra bike, he never responded to my calls or texts immediately before the event.
But I went anyway.
Fortunately, TourdeHood, located at 2305 Wheeler Avenue, has plenty of bikes to spare, helmets too. Doc, as Texas Southern University Professor Veon McReynolds is affectionately known within the Third Ward community, really wants his non-profit to get residents out and about, regardless of their means.
TourdeHood not only organizes long-distance urban community bike rides, but also loans bikes to anyone who asks. They kayak the Houston bayous and camp at parks on the outskirts of the city.
Doc is all about promoting healthy habits in the historic and predominately African American Third Ward hood. January 1st’s bike ride even made a pit stop at Sunshine’s Vegetarian Deli and Health Food Store on MLK, where we juiced up and were treated to the owner’s explanation of how to keep our colons sparkly clean. (No shi…I’m not kidding!)
At the end of the ride, Doc provided oranges, nuts, wheat grass, and encouragement to keep us all moving—into the new year.
After 8 and half miles, I’d forgotten all about the guy who stood me up, met a few new friends, and I swear, oranges never tasted so good.
There’s a bike ride coming up on Saturday, January 15, culminating in an overnight camping trip at Lake Houston Park. You don’t have to ride your bike all the way up, and you don’t have to be a Third Ward resident (or even black!) to Tour de Hood. Just visit TourdeHood for more info. And if you’re at January 17th’s MLK Day parade, be sure to wave to Doc. He’ll be the guy on the bike, throwing oranges into the crowd.
Check out my new bike!