Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 Words for Wheels Winner Essays

Words for Wheels is a 200-word essay contest. The winners wrote and submitted essays describing in their own words how winning a bicycle would change their lives. Here are the two 2011 winning essays!

Larry - I’ve lived the life of many men and walked the road of many men. I am proud to say the life I live today is a more positive life tracing the road for many to follow. I have to wake up everyday and find my strength in order for me not bounce back in the kind of negative life surrounding me. I have many appointments to get to on a daily basis, so I use my bike as a means of transportation in order or me to get around. Although I have the option to use public transportation to get to my destination I choose to use my bike because it also helps me to maintain my health. My health is very important to me and I know exercising is a way to do so; therefore I do my best to ride long distances at times to my appointments. Sometimes it’s painful but I keep going because it will do me more good than bad.

A couple of months ago, all that effort came to an end because my bike was stolen. It has been hard for me because I don’t get around like I use to I can’t get the exercise that I need. I use a cane to walk, and it is not easy, so since I need my exercise. I walk long distances when I can to my doctor appointments.

Sometimes I have to go to the doctors without an appointment so I don’t really have a chance to plan to use transportation. So I’m hoping that I will have an opportunity to win this bike, because I can’t afford one. Like I said I walked the road of many, I would love to ride with the ones that choose to be on the right path for their health.

Chris - I haven't biked to the workplace since I was 16, several presidents and nearly 30 years ago. At that time, my employer was a beachside restaurant twenty miles from home. I had a 28-inch waist, my resting heart rate (if I'd known what such a thing was at that age) would be the envy of every 40 year old I know.

I now live less than 8 miles from a downtown St Petersburg workplace that features indoor bicycle storage, a shower, wellness philosophy and a parking lot that could use a spot freed up for customer use. There's dependable and direct (bicycle-friendly) bus service a few blocks over for those few days and nights when the Tampa Bay climate prevents me from cycling home.

The route to and from work features dedicated bike paths and trails. It passes a bayou that in winter holds manatee and white pelican, in summer fishermen and kayakers. I'll pass a shrimp house and coffee roaster, a bakery and on Saturdays, a world-class produce and fresh food market so need to get panniers!

On mornings when able, Ill accompany my fourth grader to her school several blocks from home. Well share the experience of a 'commute' through our community, a few minutes saved from the purgatory of car line.

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