First Fridays, First Memories: Nikki
October 04, 2013
While we were unable to find any photos of her riding a bike, Nikki also enjoyed pogoing growing up.
As a way to introduce you to the people behind PeopleForBikes, we do a short interview on the first Friday of every month. The theme? Bicycling firsts. Last month we interviewed our grants manager, Zoe Kircos. This month, we turn our four questions to our government relations manager, Nikki Javurek.
What is your first memory of bicycling?
I kind of wish that this question wasn’t the first one because my first memory of biking was actually the results of my first crash, and it’s kind of a weird, gross kid thing, so I guess I’ll just apologize up front. So the story goes like this: growing up, we lived on a horseshoe-shaped street, so you would ride down and around to the end of one side, turn around and ride back. For the first year or so of my biking life, this was the only place my sister and I were allowed to go, so we rode it a lot. The problem was that there was a lot of sand that built up on the curves, so one day, probably not long after I got my training wheels off, somewhere around the age of 6, I wiped out big-time going around the curve and got a big scrape on my arm, right below my elbow. Now, keep in mind, this wasn’t any ordinary scrape. This scrape turned out to produce a perfectly round scab, about the size of a nickel. And when I say “perfectly round,” I mean Perfectly. Round. So this scab became this bizarre little kid badge of honor for me and I walked around town flaunting this thing until the cows came home! Sadly, though, one day my mom and my sister, Gina, and I were at Payless Shoe Source, doing some shoe shopping when I looked down and realized that my perfectly round scab of honor was gone! I ended up completely melting down and making everyone search the store for it because I had thought I was going to keep it forever. We never found it, but to this day, I’ll always fondly think about that scab as my induction into being a real biker.
When did you first fall in love with bicycles?
Looking back, I think that I first fell in love with bicycles that first time that I rode my bike by myself after my Dad took off my training wheels. I can remember how my Dad held me steady by my seat and started jogging alongside me. I was pedaling so hard and I was so scared and I kept waiting and waiting and waiting until finally I said, “Okay Dad! You can let go now!” and I heard him yell back, “I already did way back here!” I remember trying to look back and just check that he really had let go and that I really had been riding all that time by myself (and I’m pretty sure I totally wiped out trying to look back, but that’s beside the point). I loved that feeling of how thrilling it was, like I had done the best, scariest, most grown-up cool thing I’d ever done and to this day, looking back, I don’t know that any of the “growing up milestones,” like going to your first sleepover or driving a car for the first time, had that same feeling.
In addition to teaching her how to bike, Nikki's dad also hooked her up with this sweet mullet.
When did you first know bicycling would be part of your career?
Honestly, I never really went in or out of college with the idea that someday my life would revolve around trying to get more people on bikes. My career prior to this had been focused on political campaigns and policy, always advocating for issues or candidates that I believed in, that I thought would make our world a better place, that I hoped would make peoples’ lives a little better. In that vein, biking made perfect sense. To work for a cause that makes people feel happier and healthier and makes our planet a little bit cleaner for the next generation to use it just makes sense.
What is your favorite thing about bicycling?
For me, bicycling is all about the experience. There’s something about seeing and feeling the world around you that makes life a little more tangible. I don't know if that makes a lot of sense as I’m trying to write it or if it sounds silly and clichéd, but I’ve always felt that biking makes your world a full five-sense experience. I think about it this way: when I’m driving in the car, I’m really just focusing on the road and the cars around me to stay safe, I just smell the inside of my car (which isn’t smelly, but is just kind of blah), no air movement unless my A/C is on, and I’m usually listening to my radio. On the flipside, when I’m riding my bike, you get the smells of the city—the seasons, the restaurants, the flowers—and the sounds of the things going on around you, you feel the breeze (or sometimes the harsh wind!) and you feel your body so much more acutely. It just makes life seem so much more rich. Whenever I travel to new cities or countries, I love being able to hop on a bike and see the sights on two wheels—it just makes the experience more full, more real. So cliché or not, biking makes me disconnect from the monotony and connect a little more with life.
Nikki and her dachshund, Oskar, enjoy exploring Boulder by bike.