Meet Sherry, our June choice for Bike Hero of the Month! BikeDenver met Sherry when we were buying building materials to construct 25 new bike racks for our bike parking events this summer. She is a Hurricane Katrina evacuee and yes, this is a true story. You’re going to love meeting her…
BikeDenver’s Bike Hero of the Month Awards highlight one person each month, and help encourage other people to bike by telling the Hero’s personal story. The goal of the Bike Hero Awards Program is to showcase the diversity of citizen-cyclists and the people who support them in Denver.
Sherry’s Story: Sherry lives in Aurora with her fiancee, her two daughters in their early twenties and a Yarka Snauzer Terrier named “Knottche” (roughly translated that means “not a diva” in Swahili). She is a semi-regular bike commuter to her job at Home Depot at Stapleton. Her commute takes about 45 minutes. Nine of her co-workers are also semi-regular bike commuters. What stands out about Sherry when you get to see her action at work is her infectious friendliness. Working the customer service desk at Stapleton’s Home Depot seems to be a great fit (we saw her effusively greeting 3 different people, 2 of whom were clearly regular customers, in one 10 minute span). If you shop at Stapleton Home Depot and don’t know Sherry, chances are you will soon. Sherry is pictured here with her friend Phil, the hot-dog guy. She promises she’ll be sending us a picture of her bike to post soon.
How Sherry got to Denver: Sherry used to live in New Orleans. Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina forced her and her daughters into the Superdome for 9 days. When the troops arrived they were transported on buses en route to the airport and put on planes to destinations unknown. Sherry and one daughter arrived in Denver and got situated at the former Lowry Air Force Base. Her other daughter got separated from her during the transition and ended up in LaGrange, Texas. It took the family 4-5 months to re-unite with help from The Red Cross.
Her first year in Denver: When Sherry first got to Denver she was 335 lbs and she couldn’t breathe well because of the altitude. She says: “I was gasping for breath and I could barely walk a block.” Sherry bought a bike at Wal-Mart to commute to work – a one hour and 15 minute ride each way. She’s still riding it – a 10-speed Mongoose she named “Pretty in Pink”. That first year of biking she lost 110 lbs and has kept it off ever since.
Why Sherry Rides: She says: “Riding a bike got me used to breathing better.” Her advice to others? “Take your first ride. Enjoy the seeing and the wind blowing in your face and the sun shining down on you giving you peace of mind.” Her advice might be rubbing off, as one of her daughters is about to start bike-commuting. Sherry on what she loves about bicycling: “It’s free. It gives you the spirit of being free and the sense that you can conquer anything. It gives you peace of mind.” She enjoys the sights and interactions along the way, including prairie dogs, dog-walkers at all hours of the day and night, and friendly motorists who wave at her.
BikeDenver’s Executive Director Piep van Heuven says: “We introduced the Bike Hero awards because we want to encourage a friendly environment for and public image of bicyclists in Denver. One of the ways we can do this is to showcase the different faces of and great stories about people in our community, like Sherry, who ride bikes and help others get out there and ride. Through the Bike Hero awards, BikeDenver honors bicyclists of all ages and walks of life, from the first time bicyclist to the rain or shine bicyclist! We all know people (our neighbors, co-workers, family members or community leaders) who inspire us to reach for the handlebars instead of the car keys. Take a moment to look around you and help BikeDenver recognize the people in our community who are making a difference for Denver, one ride at a time!”
To nominate a Bike Hero, please send a photo and a brief description of why you think they should be recognized (100 words or less) to info(at)bikedenver.org.
We started naming Bike Heroes in January, meet them here!:
BikeDenver is Denver’s bicycle advocacy organization. BikeDenver promotes and encourages bicycling in and around Denver and works to make Denver a better place to ride your bike for fun, recreation and transportation. Why? Because it’s healthy for you, and healthy for Denver. www.bikedenver.org
Bicycle Village has been a Colorado owned and operated business for more than 30 years. From modest beginnings in an 1800 square ft. building in West Denver, Bicycle Village has grown into the largest bicycle retailer in the Rockies. www.bicyclevillage.com
You can help make Denver’s streets safer for people like Sherry by becoming a BikeDenver member: Join BikeDenver!