WHY DO I BIKE?
Hi. I'm Brian Ross, and I've been in Anchorage Radio since 1998. Currently I'm the afternoon deejay on Magic 98.9, weekays and the afternoon traffic reporter.
Why did I begin long-distance biking for charity? After all, it's not easy. It comes down to just one reason...my Mom. Frances Ross was a wonderful, caring, and wise woman. Stricken with lung and bone cancer, she passed away in November, 2001, after nearly 52 years of marriage to my Dad. They had raised nine children. I was seventh.
Mom was always there to listen to me as I struggled through this condition called adulthood. She was my voice of reason and encouragement, my conscience, and someone I could always count on for the truth--no matter how much I might not want to hear it. It was my greatest joy to tell her about my triumphs and hear the pride in her voice. Then one day, she was gone and that voice was silent.
While greiving her loss, I wanted to begin working on something that had concerned Mom about me. After my discharge from the Army back in 1997, I had grown steadily out of shape. Mom had wanted me to excercise more, and after about 11 years in the service my knees and back didn't like the punishment of running, so I got a bicycle.
At first, it was a struggle to go even a few miles on the bike, but I kept at it. Then one day along a road somewhere, while I was learning to breathe, shift gears, while watching the scenery and the lines of the road pass by, I realized...somehow, briefly, I was not being consumed by grief. My struggles to find strength and endurance had given me a temporary rest from the pain I felt from Mom's passing.
And I had needed that. It would have been so easy for me to just give up, shut down, and go through the day-to-day motions of living. But that would have been just a slower way to die...and that would not honor the memory of my Mom.
I learned about the Ride For Life--a way to bike and raise money to fight cancer by biking between cities. I'd never biked that far, but my Mom had died from cancer and my Dad is a prostate cancer survivor, so I figured I'd try.
And I LOVED it! The road, Alaskan scenery, and the wonderful people who participate--all focussed on making the world around them a little bit better through their efforts--it was inspiring. Also, it felt great knowing that I'd helped bring the world a little bit closer to being free of cancer.
So I thought to myself, I'm not a rich man. But, I have a bike, I have time, and I have the will to help others. Over the years, I have ridden in other charity rides too, such as the Clean Air Challenge, the Bike Ride for Special Olympics, and Bike MS. If I can do it, so can you.