A Bike Ride with My Son

“You can do it, dad!”
Those words reverberate through my head and pulse through my veins every time I ride at Bike MS.

It began in 2012 when I was coaxed into riding in my first Bike MS event through the rolling hills of Maryland’s wine country. I was a biking neophyte in the sense that I used to ride my bike everywhere as a kid and through college, but I had rarely hopped on a bike in the 22 years that followed. As a brand-new board member on the Society’s Maryland Chapter, I was asked to bike in support of people living with multiple sclerosis. So, being the enthusiastic board member that I am, I said yes without understanding how great a challenge completing those 15 miles would be. Thankfully, my then 14-year old son, Graham, said he would join me, though he had no experience in biking events either. But I knew it would be better to ride with him because your children always seem to find a way to get you to do more than you thought you would (or could) do.
I always thought of biking as a means to an end. Getting to a friend’s house. Getting to class.  Getting to the arcade. But now, biking gives me a sense of purpose, fulfillment and making a difference. And it also brings me closer to my son and helps Graham feel like he is making a difference for people living with MS as well. People like his dad, who was diagnosed with MS when he was barely a year old.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this blog that it occurred to me that Graham isn’t biking with me because he feels obligated to do so. He is biking with me to show me that I am not alone in this fight; that I can draw strength from his inspiration. It is the greatest Father’s Day gift a dad could hope for.
Knowing that he wanted to become more involved in Bike MS, Graham asked if he could serve on the Bike MS committee. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Graham was elected to serve on a chapter Board of Trustees someday himself. He is wise beyond his years and will be off to the University of Maryland in a couple months, but I know that he will remain committed to biking (he is going to need it on that campus), as well as to the Society, and will always cherish the days that we spent biking together. Those days are, hopefully, far from over, but I know that my “biking buddy” will always pedal with a purpose… most likely in a higher gear than his dad.
5 Appreciate this

Greg Schuckman