Saturday, September 26, 2015

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” ― Ernest Hemingway

When our children were young, we always supported them in the things that they liked to do—at least at the time.  Not being completely stupid, we rented (not bought) many musical instruments from violins to trombones (John actually played trombone in the marching band at this high school in Stoneham).  We didn’t seem to have any real musicians in our family but then our youngest (in his twenties) taught himself classical guitar and has a CD and has performed in public many times.  We went to baseball games, soccer games, or whatever the trend du jour was at the time.  John started playing with computers at a very young age (taking them apart and putting them back together) and that became a degree in Computer Science from the University of Arkansas and now is still doing what makes him happiest as a missionary.  Our oldest liked to ride bicycles and began to race competitively in his early teens.  He rode with Joe Martin who now has a race named after him in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Chris did so well that in 1990, he was both the road race state champion and the mountain bike state champion of Arkansas.  Watching your son ride a road race of 75 to 150 miles is a pretty boring affair.  You support him at the start and then you drive to some spot out on the course and in an hour or two, he will ride by like the devil was chasing him and zip by in just a few seconds.  That’s it.  Then you drive to the finish and wait another hour for him to finish.  It’s not a really big spectator sport (Tour de France notwithstanding).  He has kept with it no matter where he lived or what he was doing for a living.  He rode bikes in Minneapolis, Colorado, California, and Manhattan (he had to ride pretty far just to get to the start for those big city rides).    The bottom picture at the right is of him doing a road race in 1984, over thirty years ago.  The top picture is of him at 48 years of age just a few moments ago as he left to go do a hundred-mile race this morning.  Says he’ll be back by noon and that around eight thirty we will see the group of riders coming off the George Washington Bridge and turning right to ride into the hills of New Jersey.  We’ll be able to see him from right here in his apartment.   Gotta be proud of that.  If I could remember being 48 years old, I can guarantee you that bike riding would not be among those memories.  He and his wife have been the best hosts in the world, and for me, this is just one more highlight.  Ain’t havin’ families grand?  
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