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Bike Riding Led to Romance for Two Generations of Douglaston Woman's Family

Local couple recalls story of how bicycles played into their relationship.

For one Douglaston woman and her family, romance comes in cycles.

Joani Emerson met and became friends with her husband, Jerry Emerson, over the course of several years as she shopped at his store, Douglaston’s .

But their relationship was not the first in her family to be initiated by bike riding.

“My parents met in 1954 when my father was riding a bicycle in the city,” Joani Emerson said. “Something broke and my mother walked up to help him. They’ve been married for 58 years.”

Jerry first met Joani outside his shop on 235th Street.

“I was sitting at a picnic table in the lot next to his bike shop,” Joani Emerson said. “It was a beautiful summer day and my older son was hanging out on that block. Jerry came by, we spoke a few words and that was it.”

Some time later, Joani showed up at Peak Bicycle Shop with a broken down bike.

“She brought in an old 10-speed that should have been thrown away, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her,” Jerry Emerson said. “So, I tried to make it as safe as possible. Then, she brought it back a year later to put a baby seat on it.”

The duo was friends for nearly six years before they decided to date in 2003. They became engaged in 2009 and married in October 2010.

“It took a number of years,” Joani Emerson said of their relationship. “We kept meeting each other. He taught my children to ride bikes. He was always very kind to them.”

Recently, the cycling story came full circle.

“Her parents just gave me a tandem bike to restore that they received as a 25th anniversary gift,” he said. “It’s been sitting in their garage for 33 years.”

Joani Emerson said she recalls the couple’s first Valentine’s Day together.

“He gave me a heart-shaped chocolate and I gave him a Hershey’s kiss that was half-melted in my pocket,” she said. “We still don’t go that crazy on Valentine’s Day. We keep it simple.”

She also said she had a recommendation for single people who are searching for the right person.

“Don’t go to dating sites,” she said. “Get on a bike and ride around. You might meet a nice guy. It happened twice in my family.”

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