How a bright blue bike inspired a new hobby

By Joe Seewald

If you have ever seen a bright blue bike zooming around campus, odds are it’s me. Studies have shown that physical activity not only boosts physical health but mental health as well, and  I am a living example of that.

Back in the wonderful time of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was an awkward 16-year-old kid who was stuck at home and had nothing to do and even less direction. My dad suggested I start biking again. I scoffed at the idea initially because the last time I went biking, it went “so well” I didn’t do it for the next five years.

Fortunately, boredom got the best of me and I caved. My old bike was way too small for me; however, my dad still had his bike he bought 30 years ago. It was bright blue and needed a boatload of alterations, so my dad and I got to work.

 It was probably the most annoying thing I have ever done. Within a few weeks I felt happy, sad, angry, annoyed and relieved. After all of that, it was finally functional. 

It wasn’t as shiny and new as all the bikes on the market now, but I didn’t care. The blood, sweat and tears I shed made that blue hunk of metal worth it. More importantly, it brought me and my dad closer, and, I see that time as invaluable. Little did I know that my friends and I would go biking every day that summer.  

As my college search and the end of high school drew near, I may have biked a little less but the close friendships and memories I made remained. That was part of the reason I decided to bring my bike to school, but it broke within the first day. There were a few more days of blood, sweat and tears trying to fix it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many tools to work with at school. 

Luckily, one of my new friends at school saw me struggling and offered to take me to a bike shop that would fix it. The repairs were not too expensive and once again, my bike helped me make friends. 

Since I started biking again I’ve made many new friends, and some people only know me as the blue bike guy. One could look at this as just a story of a dude and his frustrating bike, but the deeper meaning is that I chose to start something new, and have not only gained a faster-than-walking means of transportation, but meaningful relationships and a lifelong hobby. 

If you ever see me on campus, odds are I’ll be biking. Don’t be afraid to say ‘hi,’ and take it as a sign to get out there. Find something you love as much as I love biking.

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