The unknown was not whether we had collected more than 2,000 books; the question was whether we would be able to deliver all these books to Columbine Elementary in North East Denver by bicycle and not by a caravan of cars.
Rachel and Vera left from Vera’s house in the Denver Highlands with trailers in tow. Joan, Sharon and Erika met up on the way with backpacks and trailers. Cristienne and her husband, Scott were a mixture of trailer and backpack. Scott could pull a lot particularly with his fixed gear. We all met at TriBella before 7:30 on a sunny April day in Denver and waited for the hopefully thirty plus individuals who had generously promised to provide time and pedal power for Ride for Reading.
As the time approached 8:00, more and more people started to show. Some volunteers on road bikes, others on cruiser bicycles and even others on a bizarre mixture of wheelbarrow meets bicycle. The feeling was of an early morning party fueled by coffee, donuts and excitement.
After providing directions and rules of the road, we took off down the streets of Denver towards the state Capitol building. We were receiving cheers and waves as the roughly forty of us made our way to the school. The school was less than four miles away, but it took us closer to thirty minutes to get there because of our large mass as well as the hundreds of pounds of books we were carrying.
We did arrive with no major accidents. Just one minor accident as Vera misjudged the size of her trailer and slowly took down a volunteer from Primal. He thankfully was wearing a helmet cam and caught the whole crash. Thankfully, he did not even have a bump or a bruise and his bike was fine, too.
When we got to the school, the bell rang and all children came outside and lined up around us with their classrooms. It took a little while for the school to quiet down. Rachel got them excited again by introducing Ride for Reading and Vera explained why books and reading are important. We also stressed the importance of protecting your brain while riding and that you always must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Then, we put all the books out along a raised area of the yard and each child was allotted three books.
Cristienne took time with a few students to try to determine whether they would like Pippi Longstocking. Vera pushed the “Shawn the Sheep” and Judy Blume books. Who doesn’t like “Freckle Juice”? After each child had three books, we packed up the remaining books and rode back to TriBella.
It was a fabulous day and we are very fortunate for the generosity of our community that stretches all over the US and into Europe. We are thankful for Mother Nature who gave us sunshine and for all our volunteers who helped deliver books and smiles to the kids at Columbine Elementary. We will certainly do this again!