By Christopher Cudworth
“I might like to go for a bike ride,” she told me.
“Well, your mother’s bike is pretty sweet,” I replied. “It’s a Trek Navigator 2.0. A nice trail bike.”
We lost her mother to cancer in March. Emerging from that event has been done in fits and starts. Now my daughter wants to share some time with me on the bike.
The next thing I knew she was standing beside me in her post-college-girl getup. Green shorts and matching bandanna. A frat shirt from a fundraiser ever. Cruiser sunglasses. And off we went.
The last time we’d ridden together on bikes was probably 2003. She was 10 years younger then. 13 years old. Not yet a woman, but getting there
Now she’s 23 and making decisions in the world. Job hunting, successfully it seems. And making plans for her own place in the city.
The bike ride is even tempo and something like happiness kicks in as I watch her ride in front of me. Later she would say, “I did all the leading.” Because she knows a bit about drafting from watching the Tour and other bike races with me.
But this is a mellow father/daughter ride on a Sunday afternoon––that just happens to be the day of the year we call Father’s Day.
Her original bike was this 40 lb. clunker of a machine made by Eddier Bauer or LL Bean. Whatever. It is… Heavy, heavy. She didn’t like riding it, and for good reason. It is heavier than those Schwinn monsters from the 1960.
The Trek Navigator is much lighter, and rolls along smoothly. She points out scenes of interest with her photographer’s eye. She’s riding with me. And I’m happy. There’s something charming in her open riding style. Neither of us has helmets on. Didn’t need them. She’s cautious and smart at the intersections of trails. Avoids crowds of people on the trail. She’s as good a rider as she is a driver. And she’s a good one.
At home she’s slightly tired and the shower beckons. It was a hot day and I’m sweating too. The dog greets us feverishly because God Forbid we’ve been gone for 30 minutes.
I hear the shower go on. The girl loves the heat but hates to sweat. She might move to Austin, Texas someday. All part of a bigger picture.
During the ride I heard her ask about riding other places. Places she’d like to go. Near and far. The bike can take you anywhere you want to go, daughter. Along with some networking, and a little luck.
Ride on, my daughter, ride on.