A bike challenge was to be held the following weekend, sponsored by the Y, where she had worked the summer before college. She said she wanted to do it and I recommended she make some practice rides over the week to get in shape. She hadn’t been on a bike since the previous summer, when she rode her bike to her Y job every day, a twenty mile round trip.
Come the Saturday, as we loaded the bike in the car, I realized there was precious little evidence of her practice riding the previous week. I doubted the bike even moved over the course of the week. I inquired and got the usual “I’ll be fine, Mom.”
I drove her up to the mall parking lot, the starting point for the twenty mile ride. I remember having one hand on the hatch and one on her bike, staring around. What was she getting into? Teen agers and young adults all over the lot, dressed in whatever Speedo’s were in 1983. Water bottles in holders on the bike frames. Toe straps on the bike pedals. I looked at my daughter in blue jeans and a T-shirt, her old ten speed with tires probably not up to pressure. I felt in my pockets and didn’t even have a quarter to give her for a phone call if she broke down. “I’ll be fine, Ma. Come back at 3 o’clock to pick me up.”
I circulated among other parents and learned the course was through Little Mountain and the river gorge area north and west of the city. That would be one hilly challenge. I went home and watched the clock for the next three hours, until I could go back to the mall and see what I would see.
Out in the garage I pushed the button to lift the door and was greeted by the sight of Beth, making the turn up the hill into the drive. She’d finished third in her class and was tired of waiting around for her ride home.