Many of us remember our very first bike. For some, it was probably a big-box store affair with training wheels, others a hand-me-down from a sibling, possibly with the pedals taken off the cranks. That first bike you could ride on your own symbolized freedom and the ability to go anywhere - provided a parent said it was OK.
For me - Jordan, PeopleForBikes government relations + accounts manager - all my bike memories are tied inescapably to my father. My very first bike was pink, with a pink banana seat and painfully uncomfortable passenger back bar. Even at 6 I was not a girl who was into pink, so I insisted the garage-sale purchased bike get painted something more suitable to my taste. A few layers of matte gold spray paint and hand splattered confetti paint in teal, black and purple later, I had my dream machine.
As with a lot of kids - bike riding fell off as I got my driver's license in high school, and it wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I started thinking about bikes again. In that span, my dad had picked up cycling as his weekend hobby to replace jogging. His first road bike was kind of like my first bike: from a garage sale, a strange color, but the ticket to adventure was just out the front door. He eventually upgraded to a nicer garage sale bike, which is the one he rides today. He's hoping the family friend he purchased this one from will eventually sell the replacement and the garage sale theme can live on.
Over the last six years I've immersed myself more and more into riding bikes - as transportation to an old employer in Downtown Denver, a hobby to do on weekends with friends, and now as a career getting more people on bikes more often. A plus side to this has been getting to ride regularly with my father. For a number of years, we rode every Father's Day, but then work schedules got in the way. Last year and this year were the first two in a few we were able to keep the tradition alive.
We typically meet at Confluence Park in Denver. It's not quite equidistant from our houses, but it's the perfect waypoint for adventures as it is not only the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek, but a number of trail systems converge here as well. There's a coffee shop in the REI where we can fill up our water bottles and then we roll wherever our bikes want to take us.
One of our favorite rides is west, up 23rd into the Highland neighborhoods. Commercial, new residential and historic Denver homes blend together as you bike deeper into the neighborhoods. We're also a family into architecture (my brother works designing homes in Bozeman, MT) so there is always lots of commentary on the home styles we see.
We often end up at Slohi Coffee - a combo bike shop and cafe just past Tennyson on 29th Ave. (You can find some of their great routes here on Ride Spot!) Bob drinks an iced mocha (soy + raspberry syrup) and I'm either a classic black cold brew or iced mocha (oatmilk). We sit in the sun, we drink our coffees, and we tell stories. The original Boss Trout has a million stories, mostly designed to embarrass me, and a million opinions.
When we head home, we return to the confluence by way of 29th. More iconic Denver architecture and a nice bike lane lead us back to downtown.
My dad has a ton of hobbies - he and my mom travel and garden. My brother takes him fishing.
Us? We bike. It's the number one way we spend time together, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Happy Father's Day.