Wednesdays with Amy: Let the ride begin
This is part three of a three-part series.
By RICH GOODMAN
and AMY PING
Special to the OBSERVER
The chosen venue for our first real ride was a lake front bike path that offered spectacular views of the harbor and almost always blessed cyclists and joggers with warm, gentle breezes. Not forgetting that Amy couldn’t experience the natural beauty that marked our route in the same way I could, I made a practice of pointing out the sights as we whisked past them, adding as much detail as I could pack in. Since I was sitting on the front seat of the tandem, I couldn’t see her reaction to what I was saying, but I really didn’t have to — the joy and excitement in her voice said it all. As I believe I mentioned before, being blind doesn’t necessarily mean that a person can’t see. After spending time with Amy, I’m convinced she sees very well, maybe not in the same way I do, but with her ability to create those vivid images in her mind. Although that first ride was soon followed by others, equally as rewarding, none can ever compare to that first, when on a late summer afternoon Amy and I made the transition from being two individuals astride the same bike, to a finely tuned “team.” I should point out that one of the important characters in this story whom I neglected to mention was Tory, Amy’s service dog and cherished companion. I say important, because her cooperation in making this whole thing work was essential, both at the time and in the future. Why was Tory’s cooperation important, you might asked, since dogs don’t ride tandems? Well, in a nutshell, we really didn’t know how she would accept having to leave Amy’s side, and watch her roll by with a strange companion on an even stranger looking contraption. With only a couple slight tugs on her leash, Tory couldn’t have been calmer or more well-behaved. It almost seemed that she was able to sense her dear friend’s joy.
As the seasons began to change and it was approaching time for bikes and their riders to rest for the winter months, there was still much work to be done. For Amy, it’s to find ways to share her adventure with others in the hope that they too might be interested in following in her footsteps, whether it be as a co-pilot on a tandem, or by propelling a bicycle with their hands rather than with their legs. And for me, it’s to actively support her in whatever new adventure she decides to undertake, and to always be there for her when she needs a riding partner and friend. In case you’re wondering whatever happened to Amy’s trusty old Schwinn two-seater that started it all — well it’s alive and kicking and waiting for another Captain and Stoker to set out on their own unique journey.
One of the many things I learned from Amy during our time together, was that although we can’t control what life throws at us, we can control how we deal with it. Something I hope I’ll never forget!
Epilogue: This is by no means the end, just the beginning….