Joan posing on her new bike at age 5.
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 office administrator & bookkeeper, Lynne Ida. This month, we turn our four questions to marketing & communications manager, Joan Harrold.
Born to ride.
What is your first memory of bicycling?
It’s hard to find a specific bicycling memory that jumps out as my first, because I have so many. Bicycling was completely integrated into my childhood. I was lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood without much traffic and with a ton of kids, so there was always a gang of two-wheelers in the streets and driveways. Some of my memories are the painful ones — like when my parents told me not to ride barefoot and I did anyway (and ended up with bloody toes), or when my best friend bombed down the big hill near our house and wiped out in the gravel (and the subsequent trip to the ER to remove the larger pieces from her cheek). But most of my memories are the happy, carefree ones, like riding to the community pool with a towel around my shoulders, or getting my first “big girl” bike for Christmas.
When did you first fall in love with bicycles?
Although I know I’ve fallen in love with bicycles many times over the years, again with each new, slightly bigger bike as a kid and definitely with my current beautiful Bianchi Milano, watching someone else fall in love has been equally powerful. My 1.5-year-old son Cody has a true passion for bikes. We may have started it when we began taking him for Burley rides most weekends as soon as he reached 6-months-old, but now he is the one who shouts “want to go bike ride!” every day. Recently “bike ride” has come to also mean cruising on his blue Strider bike. Since he can’t balance yet, it’s a back-breaking job helping him ride, but one that couldn’t be more fulfilling. Cody also loves to examine the different parts of the bike and watch how they move very carefully. His dad is a mechanical engineer, so we’re afraid he may have… the knack.
Joan’s son Cody climbing into the Burley to demand a bike ride.
When did you first know bicycling would be part of your career?
I honestly didn’t set out to have bicycling become part of my career. Like many adults, I’d sort of forgotten about how awesome it was to ride a bike. But, I’ve long been passionate about the outdoors and nonprofit work, so it seemed like a good fit when I first applied at PeopleForBikes. In the four years I’ve worked here, my personal love for biking has been reinvigorated, and I’ve come to be an adamant believer in the social benefits of bicycling and how we can use the bike to change the world.
Joan with her husband, Dave, and son, Cody, out for a family bike ride on Bike to Work day.
What is your favorite thing about bicycling?
My favorite thing about bicycling is the independence and freedom it brings. This is the most apparent with kids of course, as they begin to explore the world outside the confines of their parents’ minivan; but, I think anyone of any age group who starts bicycling again after time has passed will find that same sense freedom reinvented in them.
Dave helping Cody figure out the Strider.
Here is a video of Joan riding the bike she got for her 5th birthday: