Why I Ride: Dakota Graff

Dakota Graff

I have been enamored with the bicycle from a young age. As far back as my memory reaches, I have loved being on two wheels. Many things change, but as soon as I step onto a bicycle, I get the same familiar feeling. Cycling takes many forms in my life, from mountain biking in the Ozark mountains, to jumping around the local skatepark, and now to touring around the country. Each discipline is unique, bringing something different to the table, but the same feeling is still there.

The sense of giddiness, like it is my first time on a bike.

True freedom, the feeling of being able to go anywhere.

It is a unique perspective, seeing the world on a bicycle. The process is slow, moving from place to place, immersed in your surrounding environment. It’s visceral and interactive; the bicycle-traveler becomes a part of nature while also remaining in momentum.

As soon as my tires hit the ground, the monotony is broken, I can roam where I want.

In a moment, I am free.

Lately, I’ve been captured by the idea of mission statements. I think it’s really interesting the way people can come together and agree on a few set principles. This thought brought me to create a mission statement for my life. It came to me incredibly fast, as though I had been thinking of it for weeks. I came up with this:

To always seek to do good for other’s sake, inspiring along the way through creativity and philanthropy the idea that everyone is cast in wonderful design, either by nature or by God.

This lens that I view life through has made it easy to decide to go on this ride. It has been a strange journey as I use all of my skills to do something that matters; to do something significant. It was this phrase that brought it into clarity- I could use what I loved to make a difference, simply because I am able. As soon as that thought occurred to me, I was enabled to do what I could. My friends approached me about doing a bike ride for a great cause, and I jumped on the opportunity. I took my love of bicycles and the outdoors, and applied it to a cause, and it has made all the difference.

In a moment, I am free.

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