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Mallory introduces herself through her bike (Guest post)

My daughter Mallory is taking a speech writing class at university this summer and for their first assignment they had to find a way to introduce themselves to the class. She chose to introduce herself through bicycling. Surprise!

Here’s her speech:

“The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated
problems”.

This is a quote that I have hung up in my house. It seems a simple idea but a profound one.  Bicycles played a role in early feminism, allowing women increasing freedom and an independent way of travelling. Bicycles have been proposed as a solution for environmental issues as a more environmentally friendly way to travel. Bicycles have been proposed as a solution to poverty, allowing people living in poverty a cheaper way to travel to get to work or to other services. Now, why am I talking about bicycles? Well, to tell you a little bit about myself, I would like to start by talking about my bicycle. My name is Mallory and my bicycle is named Melisma.

I got Melisma as a birthday present near the end of high school. Since then, Melisma has been part of almost every aspect of my life. When I came to Western for summer academic orientation, I arrived on Melisma. I rode Melisma to my high school graduation. Melisma and I have ridden the bike path from Old South where I live to campus hundreds of times in the past five years. When I went on exchange to New Zealand for six months, Melisma came with me on the plane.

While I was there, Melisma and I cycled a rail trail through rural New Zealand. At
the end of the six months, Melisma came back home with me.  Melisma has been to Quebec twice on family cycling vacations, spending several days cycling along rail trails.  Last year, I did a two-month environmental- themed performing and cycling tour with Melisma. In those two months, we bicycled all across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with thirteen other people and their bicycles performing and interacting with thousands of people along the route. It was on this trip that Melisma received her name: as part of the tour, we all named our
bicycles to reflect their personalities.

So Melisma reflects my love of travelling. She also reflects my love of being active, including active vacations. The name “Melisma” also reflects my love of music as “melisma” is a musical term meaning a single syllable sung over multiple notes. The most common example of a melisma is a sung “Alleluia”. Melisma is also a reflection on my family. My parents are both avid cyclists and both own multiple bicycles for different purposes. In fact, they have had to set a limit on the number of bicycles they are allowed to own! (Family limit between hovers between 12-15). I have been on multiple cycling vacations with them as well as my two younger brothers and they have done multiple trips without me. Almost every weekend during the summer, we gather together a group of friends and spent an afternoon cycling and playing cards together.

Last year a friend of mine received a car from her grandparents as a graduation present. I am graduating this fall and joked with my parents that I would much rather receive a graduation bicycle than a graduation car. So last week, my dad brought home a new bicycle for me! It doesn’t have a name yet but I’m thinking it will be another “m”-name to match Melisma and Mallory. This new bicycle is a proper touring bicycle, built for travelling and long-distance cycling.

Today I started by talking about the power of bicycles. I talked about the power bicycles can have for complicated issues. I told you that by telling you about my bicycle, I would tell you about myself. And I have. I am a person who lives an active lifestyle. I am a person who loves travelling. I come from a family of cyclists. I am a lover of music, especially choral music. I am a cyclist and I look forward to future travels with both Melisma and my new un-named bicycle.

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