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July 24, 2008

Riding Into the Future

Since my son doesn’t have a blog, I’m taking the liberty of posting this on his behalf:



It’s a Specialized Hotrock FS, 24-inch wheel, front suspension, 21-speed mountain bike. It was a gift from Grandma and Grandpa for his tenth birthday.

In a related story – I now have a 10-year-old child. And all of a sudden, I’m starting to feel kind of old.

Truthfully, my son isn’t an avid bike rider. He uses it every now and then to ride around the park, and prefers leisurely cruising to racing or jumping or stunt riding. It’s a nice form of exercise for him on occasion, but there’s no indication that he’s laying down the foundation of a future endurance athlete.

However, to his credit, he prefers to ride on trails instead of roads, and claims that his favorite part of bike riding is seeing pretty areas of nature that are too far to walk to. So perhaps this is a gateway to something that will impact him on a deeper level at some point in the future.

Back to the bike: It’s his first bike with handbrakes, the first with gear shifters, and the first with a water bottle cage. (Predictably, he was most excited about the bottle holder.) It’s a nice transition between the former kid bike he used, and a full-blown grownup mountain bike – much in the same way that turning ten marks a transition between childhood and adolescence.

One other thing about the Hotrock: it’s WAY better than my own ride. I’m still pedaling my college mountain bike: an old-school Specialized Rockhopper with no suspension, with worn-out chainrings and torn-up cables that limit my shifting capacity to only 3 gears. It's fine for getting around the neighborhood, but it probably can't keep up with a 21-speed underneath a solid rider.

Naturally, I couldn’t let this comparison go unnoticed by my newly minted 10-year-old, which led to the following exchange:

Me: Listen, man – you have a better bike than I do now.

Him (smiling): Cool.

Me: Yeah, but here’s the thing: there’s no excuses anymore. If I’m riding faster than you, it’s either because my legs are stronger, or I’m working harder. As soon as you get stronger than me, you’ll be able to beat me.

Him: That could be a while.

Me: You’re darn right.

My son may have the nicest bike in the house, but I’m determined to be the best bike rider in the family for as long as I possibly can. One of these days, he may drop me on a climb, or pull away from me in a sprint - but if he does, he’ll definitely have to earn it.

And if that day ever comes, one thing is absolutely certain: I’m going to feel extremely old.

15 comments:

Jamie 7/25/08, 5:27 AM  

Great story, Donald. That is a sweet ride. Until he can beat you, perhaps he can get a paper route and sneak up on you and say "I want my two dollars".

Deene 7/25/08, 7:18 AM  

Cool! always good to get real "new" bike instead of hand-me-down.
talk of feeling OLD, my 13 year old got her very own lap top the other day.

jeff 7/25/08, 8:14 AM  

dropping dad on a climb is the new arm wrestling.

Backofpack 7/25/08, 8:51 AM  

You know, that's the first thing I thought when you mentioned your son turning 10 - Oh my god! Donald is OLD! I remember the first one hitting the double digits though - it was kind of shocking. Now my oldest is 21 and can legally drink - and I feel old. Of course it's all relative. My Dad can't believe that his second-born, me, is 50 - he wonders how he got upper-middle-aged children...

stronger 7/25/08, 9:29 AM  

My dad can still whip me on the bike...on his good days.

The day he pulls ahead will be a turning point.

d is eyeing a 20" gary fisher with gears. He wants to go by the bike shop every day!

David Ray 7/25/08, 1:43 PM  

Nice ride and Happy birthday to the son.

A good bike is a precious gift. My son, Jon, can't hang with me running but we can ride together for hours.

And that's well worth the price of a good bike.

Makita 7/25/08, 3:38 PM  

"My son may have the nicest bike in the house..."

I don't know - I remember not so long ago you posted pics of your DDs sweet wheels! :D

My DD is just beginning to take an interest in cycling - I'd love to get her off training wheels by her birthday (Sept). It would be so much easier to push ONE child in the jogger rather thatn 2. :)

Juls 7/25/08, 4:24 PM  

Happy Birthday to the 10 year old boy! I'd say that you are old, but I've got a 16 year old. Where does the time go?

Annette 7/26/08, 10:26 AM  

Sweet ride! It's amazing how nice kids' bikes are now. Whatever happened to the 1 speed, banana seat, high handle bars, and sparkly hand-grips for kids? ;)
You can tell your son he's probably got a nicer bike than most of us adults!

Darrell 7/27/08, 3:18 PM  

Just wait until your baby turns 18 and he's five inches taller than you. Can you imagine how I feel. An he does have a faster bike. He's got the road bike and I have a mountain bike. I don't stand a chance.

Anne 7/27/08, 6:53 PM  

Turning 10 is huge for both father and son.

Rainmaker 7/27/08, 8:04 PM  

Nice...throwing down with the 10 year old.

He'll be forever remembering that, and about 6-10 years from now, reminding you of that little moment. ;)

the Dread Pirate Rackham 7/28/08, 8:37 AM  

Oh wow. I don't want my kids to grow up - can we just stop the clock now? please?

triguyjt 7/28/08, 5:57 PM  

cool ride..

never let him beat you....

you never get it back LOL!!!!!

momo 7/30/08, 4:03 PM  

happy birthday to that big guy - and to you, dad. its so cliche, but they grow so fast. i'm having some trouble with that, although i know i can't stop it.

hug him tight!

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