Going Old School

My oldest son used to be very competitive on our bike rides to school – not so much with me, but with other people on the trail. This was when had a bike with very small wheels, before his younger brother was old enough to go to school. On those mornings, the big guy and I would be riding along, chatting and having a good time, and then he’d spot some big kids.

All the chatting would stop at that point, and he’d lean forward, pedaling ridiculously fast. As often as not, we’d catch the bigger kids, and some times we’d even pass them.

That competitiveness has faded over the years. He still doesn’t like to let me or his younger brother to pass him, but he doesn’t try to catch every biker that goes whizzing past.

Yesterday morning, as the three of us were riding in, we spotted some kids ahead of us that looked to be about his age.

“Look,” his little brother said. “It’s – ”

“I know,” the big guy interrupted.

Suddenly, he was pedalling faster. He didn’t look any different, no intense expression or standing in his pedals or anything like that, but his feet were spinning fast enough to be a blur.

As he pulled away, I smiled at his little brother. “Come on,” I said. “Let’s catch him.”

I stood up on my pedals and leaned forward to put on speed. My oldest was disappearing down the path. He’d passed the other kids and was still going full speed.

I blew past the other kids, my youngest hot on my heels. He called out a cheery “Hi!”

They didn’t answer. Their faces were red, their eyes intent on the road.

Once they were far enough behind us, I called out to my oldest to stop.

He slowed down so we could catch him, and as we pulled up, he flashed me a giant smile. No words, no laugh, just a big triumphant smile.

“That was fast,” I said. “Now let’s let your brother lead for a while.”

He shrugged. “Okay.”

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