Bike joy, found during a global pandemic

Life for humans on earth was utterly upended in 2020. In the great upending, new space was created — space to form new habits; gain new skills; or connect with loved ones in deep ways. 

During the past year, our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues have shared countless stories about finding joy while riding a bike: Parents teaching their children to ride without training wheels; folks taking their pets on bike rides; and individuals flying solo to maintain sanity.

Here is our effort to collect those stories and to amplify the joy. If you’d like to share your story about finding joy on two wheels, we’d love to include it in the collection. Thank you to all who shared, and bike on!

Alisha Zellner

The bicycle = freedom. During the pandemic, I was able to find my voice and unite communities by sharing the beauty of our differences and the love in our similarities all on two wheels.

Courtney Reynolds

I’ve always been a utility rider — definitely not someone who biked “for exercise” … that’s what weight training is for! But, during the pandemic, I discovered the trails all throughout Seminole County in Florida. It’s been just magical!

Jackie Bow

Bought a bike, found joy for myself and my quarantine pup!

Catherine Sanders

My third child was *very* afraid of biking. I’d been working with her for over a year in the street in front of our house without success. At the school track, she overcame her fears over several sessions. Once she was comfortable, we went on several long bike trips together — the longest, a ten-mile round trip to and from an ice cream store!

Hector Chang

When bike shops and even big-box stores were sold out of affordable bikes and mechanics were slammed with repair work, our organization held pop-up bike repair clinics to assist people with getting their bikes fixed.

Merry Yen

My (just turned 8 years old) son learned to bike during the initial Shelter-In-Place order. Now he bikes to/from “school” everyday on his own! (School is a friend’s house as they are both being homeschooled). It’s about a half a mile each way, and he figured out the best route to get there and back!

Jamila Owens

We finally found the time to teach my 10-year-old how to ride and with empty parking lots and a more bike-friendly environment, she got it! We were happy, she was SO happy!

Arlete Hodel

In November, I started a group called Arlete’s BIG (Bicycle Interest Group) for older adults and started leading a few rides each week. Since then, 24 new bike riders have ridden a collective 4880 miles! There are now BIG rides every day of the week!

Katrina Sohriakoff

We started biking with our son Colin in April. He loves it and it’s a fun way for our family to get outside together.

Anne S Galamb

I had a kidney transplant in July, 2019. With my illness and recuperation from surgery, I hadn’t been biking in two years, but during the pandemic, I was able to get back to my six mile route. It feels so good every time I can do something I did before I got sick and sometimes surpass it. It made me feel very proud of myself.

Ike Bonnell

I bought a carbon fiber gravel bike in April and did my first two-night bike camping trip over the summer. It was mostly “type 2” fun: 90 degrees and smoky due to area wildfires. I was really happy that I got to jump in a river each day! So refreshing!

Emily Walters

I learned I could strap a box of local cupcakes to the back of my bike. A perfect fit!

Matt Miller

How about getting caught in a lightning storm while bikepacking through the Sierra in August? In this case, we were hiking with our bikes up and over a pass. It was delightful.

Evan Kenward

My dream has been to ride my bike with my dog and the first time I got to do that was when he was a puppy and we cruised through Golden Gate Park where the streets had just been closed off to cars during the lockdown.

Anna Walters

My folks shot video of my first ride back since breaking my leg in July. I may as well have been seven years old again and riding without training wheels on that pink Schwinn.

Kimmy Feldbauer

I miss cycling to work so much, but I’ve gotten in so many mornings at a natural, spring-fed public pool here in Austin since March. I can get a good ride in, listen to a podcast, and start my day off with a wonderful swim!

Scott Chowning

I did a solo ride from Oakland to Santa Barbara just before thanksgiving and it was truly wonderful.

Gary Colman

I set up a Zwift group among some colleagues and friends, and we hang out once or twice a week cycling “together” even though we’re distributed (Seattle, Bay Area, etc.). A great way to get some social connection while isolating at home.

Melodi Yanik

This summer an old colleague and I participated in the Scavenger Hunt hosted by Downtown: On the Go! in Tacoma, WA. Participants were required to find clues around town without a car. We completed the hunt by bike and would have gotten a perfect score if we hadn’t uploaded the wrong picture!

Peg Engasser

Last spring, bicycle advocates in Tompkins County, NY connected with a local agency to deliver supplies to families with newborns. It felt great to meet a critical need with minimal logistics — no bar codes, no truck, no handheld data-collection device — just a bag with diapers, handed off to a mom whose kid needed them.

Kyle Winslow

Proud Papa Wheelie here! I’d look concerned too if I couldn’t touch the ground (or simply crawl or stand up for that matter).

Inka Bajandas

I got a child seat installed on my bike (no small feat with all the pandemic era demand for bikes and all products bike-related), and took my baby on her first bike ride. She loved it!

Phil Whitfield

I really expanded my range during the pandemic. I got a new bike; rode all over the Bay Area; and discovered urban foraging. Gathering acorns in the East Bay to make acorn bread was a highlight!

Anna Botelho

Our younger daughter graduated from scoot biking to biking with pedals. She can bike proficiently and fast enough to bike around with my older daughter so we can all bike together as a family, which is huge!

Brianna Christine

I got a bike for the first time in my adult life! Hadn’t ridden one in like eight years and was terrified to get on one. Six months later it turns out I love biking and have worked up to (pre lockdown number two that we are now enjoying) commuting 18km a day to work.

Rachel Norman

We got our daughter her first bike during the pandemic and the wildfires. She learned to ride it in the hallways of my office building while wearing a mask. The whole thing was ridiculous and adorable.

Matt Yarrow

After months of going nowhere during the Covid pandemic, a group of friends did a weekend ride on the Erie Canal Trail. Probably the best time I had all year!

Share Your Joy with Us

Please upload a photo or video that captures this experience. Thank you so much for sharing! Quick disclaimer: The text and photos/videos you provide may be edited for brevity, and will be uploaded to the Pandemic Bike Joy collection periodically.