From Training Wheels to Real Wheels
When most young-adults think of their first experience with a bike they think of Mom or Dad. Louisa and Clara Wruck are no exception. Unlike most, their experience of riding a bike with their dad did not last as long as one would hope. At the age of 5, Clara and Louisa’s dad was already sick. The long bike rides were too much for their father who was fighting lymphoma. Eric Wruck lost his battle with cancer in January 2011. Now for the second-year, Louisa, Clara and their mom will ride to honor their dad and aunt–both of whom were taken from them by cancer.
Louisa and Clara are twins. At the age of 17, they’re two of Pelotonia’s eighty-two (and counting) “minor riders.” The minimum age for a minor rider is 14 years old. Fourteen and fifteen year-old riders can register to ride the 25 or 50-mile route. When riders are 16, they can choose whichever route their heart desires.
While Pelotonia offers six routes, it was important that the girls were united at the finish to celebrate their accomplishment. Louisa chose the 75-mile route, while Clara has chosen the 100-mile route. Both end at Gambier.
“My favorite part of riding in Pelotonia is the finish line. It is so unifying because everyone is there for the same reason,” Louisa says.
And while the reason they ride to the finish is clear, it has become more than the sole benefit for the Wruck family. Pelotonia instills in them their dad’s love of biking and has given the family the opportunity to train together. “Training is a nice way to talk about the day, not necessarily a time to talk about dad, but to get away from other people,” Clara says.
Louisa remembers a time she truly got away from everyone with her mom. They decided to do a 25-mile ride on Lake Michigan’s coastline. While riding they took a wrong turn, adding ten miles to their day and they loved every minute of it.
This inspiring “make the best of it” attitude is what Pelotonia is all about. Clara was in kindergarten when she came downstairs determined to tell her dad one thing: “I choose happy.” His original annoyance at her determination to tell him this while he was busy making breakfast changed when he realized the wisdom in his daughter’s simple words.
This mentality carries the girls through their daily life and is central to their approach to Pelotonia. Now, a bike is a symbol of a life changing disease that affects our entire community. Pelotonia offers the Wruck family the opportunity to see things in a better light, to “choose happy” and to help others who face that same challenge each day.
Written By: Melissa Thompson