There’s not a lot you can get for a dollar. Aidan Kesner of Lexington is out to change that. Give him a buck and he’ll ride his bike to your home or office and drop off a Bike Friendly sticker. You can put this sticker in your window to show your support for biking, and to let cyclists know that they’re welcome to stop in if they need help.
Aidan’s Bike Friendly delivery service began under the auspices of his senior year project at his high school, Gann Academy. His goals were to do something meaningful, to raise money for his college cycling team, and to help support greater Boston’s biking community. Plus ride as far as possible.
In the past two months Aidan logged over 1,000 miles in the course of delivering more than 50 stickers to houses and businesses all around Boston. Along the way, Aidan got a chance to learn about perseverance: “I had to stick with it even when it was hard, even when I didn’t sell as many stickers as I’d hoped.”
As you might guess, Aidan, like more and more teens these days, is mad about bikes. When he was in 8th grade he saw a group of road cyclists riding past. “I thought that looked pretty cool and I should get into it,'' he recalled.
By the time he was 15, Aidan was going out for 100 mile rides. “I loved the sense of freedom that biking gave me,'' he said. "I couldn’t drive, but I could bike 50 miles from home all by myself.”
In his junior year in high school Aidan got a job at a local bike shop and began to race bikes. Since then, biking has taken over his life: “It’s all that I think about, all that I do.”
Loving the bike is one thing, being fast on the bike quite another. For the record, Aidan is pretty fast. Fast enough that David Grigsby, the cycling coach at Lindsey Wilson College, recruited him to race for his Division I cycling team.
You may never have heard of Lindsey Wilson College. The truth is, I hadn’t heard of it, either, until I spoke with Aidan. What I learned is that cycling is to Lindsey Wilson as hockey is to Boston College. Grigsby’s team travels by plane, stays at hotels, and is provided with meals and support. All of which is unlike the experience of most American cyclists, amateur or professional.
For Aidan, getting recruited to race on one of the top teams in the country was a dream come true: “My ultimate goal is to become a professional cyclist and maybe this will help me get there,'' he said. "And if that doesn’t work out, I want to either own a bike shop or work in the bicycle industry.”
Aidan does not anticipate having what he described as a “standard” college experience. He knows that he’ll have to get enough sleep, skip what he described as “The Friday night partying scene,” and train 25-30 hours a week.
For most college freshmen that would be too much of a sacrifice. Not for Aidan: “I can’t wait for school to begin. Riding is really important to me.”
Aidan plans on selling Bike Friendly stickers until he starts college. As Aidan put it, “With any great project it shouldn’t just stop because your school says you don’t have to do it anymore. I have a couple of hundred stickers left and I plan on delivering them over the summer.”
Interested in buying a sticker and having Aidan deliver it to you? E-mail him at Aidan.email@example.com. You’ll get to support a good cause and show your support for biking.
Plus you’ll get to meet Aidan. And who knows, perhaps in a few years you can watch him race in the Tour de France and tell your friends, “He once rode to my house and sold me that sticker in my window.”
Jonathan Simmons is a psychologist and an avid cyclist. His book, “Here For the Ride” will be published later this year.
You can watch a video of Aidan or follow him on twitter at @AKBikeFriendly
It’s not too early to start thinking about the 8th annual Boston Bike Film Festival. The deadline for submissions is September 1st. The festival will be held on October 12th at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. The event benefits Massbike and Bikes not Bombs. For more details, check out bostonbikefilmfest.org.