When I started biking to work 27 years ago, my life was simple. My bike was not. Recently graduated and newly married, I biked to my first job on a sleek, 15-speed Barracuda A2V with center-pull brakes, hydraulic discs, an indexed derailleur and alloy rims. Today, 130,000 bike-miles later, my life is complicated. My bike is not. With children, bills and cholesterol worries, I bike to work on a one-speed Schwinn with pedal-brakes and fat tires. My life reflects what I have. My bike reflects what I need: balance.

Jeff Obermiller

Alexandria

Iteach at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College, serving students from 154 countries. A classroom of "gimme" caps, hijabs, cornrows, camouflage, kente cloth, T-shirts, ties, saris, sandals, military boots, Easy Spirits, an occasional outrageous high heel. Some days, the classroom is glorious -- spirited discussion, generous laughter -- the dawn of wonder in students' eyes. I stand high on the passionate belief that I have found my true life's calling. Other days . . . I wish like hell I'd gone to law school.

Lucy Holsonbake

Alexandria

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