In the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about climbing, hiking and camping on this blog. So you might not realize from reading about it here, but we are big fans of bicycling as well. In the past, Mark and I had mountain bike vacations to Fruita, explored mountain bike trails up and down the front range, and even rode (and crashed) in a mountain bike race a few years ago. Since G came along, we’ve embraced biking as a slow-weekend family activity, riding the paved paths around Fort Collins with the kiddo in the trailer, or chasing Go-Kid as he tears it up on his strider bike around our neighborhood.
These are all reasons why I have long enjoyed reading Velo Mom’s Blog, about her family’s adventures in mountain biking, strider racing and traveling around the continent. Their family embraces a spirit of adventure and passion for outdoor sports that is awesome and inspirational. But last month, the unthinkable happened. While traveling in Mexico, their youngest son, Axel, was tragically murdered in drug-related violence. Even though we have never met the family, the news of this death hit Mark and I terribly hard. We surely can’t even scratch the surface of grief that Velo Mom’s family is going through right now, and all we can do is offer support and kind thoughts from a distance.
I really wanted to write something to try and make some sense of this loss. I thought about the risks we take in adventures as a family, and about how many things happen to us in life that we have no control over. If there is anything I have learned as a mother, it’s that we are in less control of our lives than we could imagine, and that many things that happen are out of our hands and beyond our responsibility. But, as you can read here, these thoughts are confused, jumbled and not really appropriate for this terrible loss.
What is appropriate is a celebration of Axel’s awesome, though brief little life. Full of bicycling, adventures, sunlight, laughter and love. He was lucky to be born into an incredible bicycling family, and he lived an incredible and very full life. Axel started riding his strider bike just after taking his first steps, and riding was one of his favorite things. In honor of Axel, the Velo family has set up a fund to help get kids more active and riding bikes. They have partnered with Strider to help get kids on bikes who would not otherwise have access. If you want to donate, you can you can send a check made out to the Axel Charrette Fund, c/o Alpine Bank, 119 Liddell Drive, Ridgway, CO 81432, or call 970-626-4100 and reference the Axel Charrette Fund.
We have been inspired by Axel and his family to ride more, and getting G a strider bike was one of the best purchases we have made for him. I want to encourage everybody reading this to get out and ride this summer, for Axel.
There are a series of thoughtful reflections on fellow outdoor adventure family blogs today in honor of the memorial for Axel being held in Ridgway, Colorado, today. To read other parent’s thoughts on this tragedy, check out these links.
- Sad News: 2-Year-Old Son of Blogger Velo Mom Murdered While On Vacation (AdventureParents.com)
- Remembering Axel (BraveSkiMom.com)
- Finding Precious – a Tribute to Axel Charrette (TalesOfaMountainMama.com)
- Remembering Axel – A Tribute (MommyHiker.com)
- What Matters Most – Remembering Axel Charrette (Bring-The-Kids.com)
- In Memory of Axel Charrette (CragMama.com)
- “SHARP KNIFE OF A SHORT LIFE…” [TRIBUTE TO AXEL AND THE CHARRETTE FAMILY] (KidProject.org)
- Raising Outdoor Kids: Is it worth the risks? (BigGreyRocks.com)
- This is not a call to vote for me as a Top 25 Outdoorsy Mom. Mostly. (TheMileHighMama.com)