A Family That Rides Together

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I’m sure most of you have heard the following statement “A family that prays together, stays together.”  Well, my family has a different take on this. We like to say, “A family that rides together stays together.” Yes, I understand this statement does not rhyme, but that’s just the way we roll.

There are always ways to bring a family closer. One way is to have something in common and/or something that all individuals can take part in and get excited about. Our excitement began when my brother joined the Auburn Flyers Collegiate Cycling team. We (as a family) attended all the cycling races, including taking a family vacation to Kansas for the National Collegiate race. After experiencing such a major event together, my parents and I started thinking about the prospect of getting our own bikes.

I purchased my first road bike with the help of my parents. Soon after, both of my parents purchased their own road bike. This is when the bonding first started. My dad became my “coach” for future bike races. We spent the weekends together riding and training. This was the first time that my dad and I had anything in common. When I started racing with my brother, the entire family would spend the whole weekend at our races. And every spring when the Tour De France comes on, we all gather around the TV to see how Lance Armstrong is doing.

For any relationship to thrive and develop, there are several core components. The National Extension Relationship and Marriage Educational Network, NERMEN, lists seven key patterns of thinking and behaviors associated with healthy, stable couple relationships and marriage. These have become known as the NERMEN Core Components of a Healthy Relationship and Marriage. Care for Self is one of these concepts. It focuses on maintaining physical, psychological, and sexual health and wellness as an individual. Exercise is such an important element in our daily lives. It affects all aspects of our lives in a positive way. Also, as I have shown, it can bring family togetherness.

My family is known as the cycling family. We are always wearing our Auburn jerseys and riding proudly side by side. Even my 54-year-old mother puts on her spandex and jumps on her bike for 50-mile rides. It is something that our entire family can do together and enjoy together. We are healthy, happy, and closer than ever.

What have you done with your family lately? Have you made an effort to spend time together?

Rachel Dawkins, Graduate Research Assistant

Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiativve

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