I posted the following on Diary’s Facebook yesterday:
I don’t have the words to tell you how big this is. Every year, I’ve had to pull Brooke in a trailer behind my bike. This year, at ten, it just wasn’t going to happen. Last year, we tried an alley cat. She shrieked like, well, an alley cat. She was terrified by the sway. This year, Luau pushed just enough to get her to try the tandem. And she did. And she loved it.
I have no words big enough for this.
This is a family bike ride.
It was hard and awesome and exhausting and messy and breathtakingly beautiful … just like the whole damn journey.
This is big.
We rode 12 1/2 miles.
Our destination was Millie’s Market in Madaket, where we stopped for a rest, along with a milkshake or two, and then we were back on the bikes.
The entire way there, Brooke was saying again and again, “It’s a race! I guess we’re winning the race!”
Katie and I rode together while Luau and Brooke rode on ahead, fulfilling Brooke’s need for speed.
Katie was struggling. In full tween mode, she was “sooooooooo tired” and “sooooooooo done” and the ride was “sooooooooo long.”
I gently prodded and nicely cajoled and at times got outright pissed.
Finally, I walked my bike next to hers up a hill. We talked about the amazing parts of the ride. I told her not to pedal when she didn’t have to. To coast when she could. To feel the delicious island breeze on her entire body.
I told her to take in her surroundings – the Atlantic in the distance off to her left, over the bluffs and past the fields, beyond the houses dotting the hills, perched high above the water. The lush, varied green on the right, hills and valleys undulating until they disappeared over the last visible ridge.
“I know it can be tough, baby,” I said as we hopped back on the bikes. “Just remember, “Pedal when you have to; coast when you can, and don’t forget to look around.”
On the next downhill, she yelled behind her, “Mama! Are you coasting?”
“I am, baby!” I yelled back over the wind.
And coast we did, until the next hill demanded that we work for it.
As we pedaled through the incline, I wondered aloud if Luau and Brooke had just gone home without us, as we hadn’t seen them in so long. Katie pointed into the distance. “Nope,” she said, “They’re up there waiting for us.”
I had to squint to distinguish Luau’s green shirt from the bike path sign next to which he was standing. At that distance, the bike itself and its smaller rider blended into the rough hewn fence beside them, but there they were, waiting for us to catch up.
A family bike ride.
As we got closer, Katie yelled, “Go ahead guys, we’re here!”
They didn’t hear her. I told her not to yell again. It was kinda nice that they were waiting for us.
As we pulled up next to them, I asked Brooke a question.
“Are you winning the race, baby?”
Her answer was not what I expected, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.
“We all are!”
We went on a family bike ride.
Pedaling when we had to. Coasting when we could. And enjoying the hell out of the ride.