First Fridays, First Memories: Zoe

September 6, 2013

Nothing beats riding a bike in Colorado!

As a way to introduce you to the people behind PeopleForBikes, we do a short interview on the first Friday of every month. The theme? Bicycling firsts. Last month we interviewed our marketing & communcations manager, Joan Harrold. This month, we turn our four questions to our grants manager, Zoe Kircos.

What is your first memory of bicycling?
My earliest vivid memory of bicycling was the first time I rode a two-wheeler by myself. I think I was five. This was in my Detroit neighborhood in the early 70s and my parents were nowhere in sight. I hauled my sister?s old pink and white Schwinn with a banana seat out of the garage, my friends hoisted me up and gave me a push, and off I went. I can still remember the exhilaration of pedaling down that cracked sidewalk. I was so happy. And then I saw the corner and realized I didn?t know how to stop and my feet didn?t come near to touching the ground. So I crashed into the closest lawn. Later that day we went to a family event and an older cousin asked me if I could ride a bike. I proudly answered yes, and he asked, ?Since when?? I told him, ?This morning.?

When did you first fall in love with bicycles?
I fell in love with bicycles in two ways: by watching super exciting European road races and by riding everywhere after moving to Boulder, CO.

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I camped through Europe in 1993. Since his brother-in-law was a photojournalist covering pro races, we got great views of a few stages of the Le Dauphin? Lib?r? and the Tour de France that summer. Incredible experience. I rode in a press car following the peleton down the Col de la Madeleine and have never been so scared and thrilled at the same time. Tracking the Tour also gave us a connection to people in the towns we visited. We had many enthusiastic ? though not necessarily coherent ? discussions about the qualities and potential of the yellow jersey contenders as we watched race highlights in bars and through storefront windows. Indurain! Cipollini! Rominger! Hampsten! We all had our favorites. Years later we took our kids to France to watch a few days of the Tour as they rolled through the Pyrenees and it was still a blast. We had our favorites there, too ? Jens! Thor! Vino! – even the kids knew the names.

I fell in love with bicycles in a different way after I moved to Boulder 20 years ago and started biking everywhere. I was poor, I didn?t have a car, and riding was the cheapest, easiest, and most interesting way to get around. I discovered the city that way, rolling through alleys, finding short cuts down tiny streets, cruising home in the evenings. I still think the bicycle is the best way to get around this city and I am always finding new routes as I help my teenage daughter find the safest way to her destinations. We look at the map, we try it out, and off she goes.

I love to ride home from work in mid-December when everybody has their holiday lights up and you can see trees and candles twinkling through windows. The air is still and it?s perfectly crisp. Lovely.

Zoe’s daughters applaud their dad as he wins a stage in the Tour de France. Well, sort of…

When did you first know bicycling would be part of your career?
I never thought bicycling would be a career for me ? it was just something I did for fun and transportation. After I started this job, people would ask if I rode my bike because I work for PeopleForBikes. And I would say no, I work at PeopleForBikes because I love to ride my bike!

I?m so lucky that I get to talk to people from across the country about what they are doing to make bicycling better where they live. The years that people put into building a rail trail or a path so their kids can walk and bike to school is truly amazing and inspiring. I wish I could help more of them. But I figure every little bit helps, and with each story we are spreading the word.

What is your favorite thing about bicycling?
I love that I can do something that is good for my body, good for the environment, good for my pocketbook, and good for my mental health all as part of my daily routine. Yes, sometimes I?m tired, and or it?s cold or windy or snowy and sometimes I choose not to ride. But most of the time I do. And then I get the random gift of a perfectly peaceful, singularly stress-free ride along quiet streets and I?m grateful I made that choice.

Before Zoe inherited her sister’s Schwinn, she relied on her trusty bike.

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