Dinner Table Discussions


Tonight, the dinner conversation turned to cycling. Nothing unusual about that at my house, right? Well, yes and no. When my children were being raised, we would often discuss the races I was doing, how things were developing in the Tour de France, events we would be participating in, etc. But that was because in my family, we all cycled to some extent. We even had an article written about us, and a large picture of the family on bikes, in the Deseret News one year.

bicycle in Utah
Stephanie (in the Jazz shirt) and friends at the 2014 Spinderella Ride in Pocatello. Photo by Nick Ward.

But in the extended family, we were a novelty, and the dinner conversation was never about cycling, except perhaps for someone to inquire if I was still riding my bike (as though that was rather incredible), and to then ask if my butt ever got sore. Bicycling for an adult was an oddity, and by extension so was I. My father-in-law always maintained that I was just crazy.

Tonight, though, we had two of my brothers, their spouses and my niece over for dinner. Like most conversations, this one covered many topics as the stream of consciousness was allowed to flow. Inevitably, though, it eventually turned to skiing. My parents raised us as skiers and, frankly, we love to talk about skiing. But tonight, which is no longer so unusual, our discourse also shifted to cycling.

Many years ago, my nephew, Russell, became enamored with cycling, and I finally had someone in the family with whom I could share and discuss this common passion during dinner. But then, he lived among those liberal granola folks in Portland, Oregon, so what would you expect?

In a more unusual development, though, my niece, Jyl, became passionate about biking, Why unusual? Because she lives in Pocatello, my own hometown, right in the middle of conservative southeastern Idaho. She is the product of my farmer brother and was raised with correct conservative principles. Nevertheless, she, and then her husband, Ace, became avid cyclists, and they began raising cycling during dinner conversation.

Then in another twist, my brother, Nick, took up our special sport. That has been nice for me since he lives just down the road from me. This was an especially unique twist as his real passion for years has been that leisure activity called golf. Go figure.

So, when Nick is at the dinner table, as he was tonight, not only do we talk about skiing, we also discuss cycling. Tonight, we spoke first of our plan to participate in the Cache Gran Fondo in July. Then, we discussed riding routes around Pocatello, which led to a discussion about the route of the upcoming Spinderella event, an all ladies century ride in Pocatello.

Nick’s told of how his wife, his daughter, the above-named Jyl, and her sister have even formed a team, Fourward (for four women who all have the maiden or current surname Ward) to participate in the Spinderella. And now, the team has expanded beyond four and beyond the name Ward.

So what is the point of all this? Well, if it has a point beyond our casual dinner conversation tonight, it is about the growth of cycling, I am no longer an oddity, at least not because of my cycling. Our sport has grown, to the extent that, like skiing, it is a sport many an extended family share. And as such, it has become a not uncommon topic at the dinner table.

At our dinner table tonight, Nick related that the Fourward team will once again be joined for the last half mile of the ride by our niece, Stephanie. Stephanie, developmentally disabled from birth, is beloved by the whole extended family. Stephanie, awaiting this year’s Spinderella, asked Nancy if she was “ready for this”.

Well, Stephanie will be ready, and after the event is over, you can be certain it will be the main topic of the dinner conversation.


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