Race (1 of 2)

High noon.

I was riding my bike to the gym to pick up my son from his basketball day camp. We’d decided biking was a great idea when it was 58 degrees that morning. I forgot that for me it meant double the riding: drop off, home, pick up, home again. I also forgot that the forecast was for 100 in the afternoon.

He would be mad if I came to retrieve him in the car, so I was determined not to disappoint. Really, it’s ridiculous how close the gym is to our house, I told myself. As we pedaled at 8am I had scoffed: why drive to the gym, ever?! Ridiculous. All I need is fifteen minutes.

But time got away from me at home and I looked at the clock ten minutes before I needed to walk through the double doors and retrieve my five-year-old. He won’t die if I’m not exactly on time; someone will sit with him so he’s not alone. Still, I pedal faster.

I round the bend by the high school and come to the intersection where it’s sometimes fine to blow on through, but sometimes it’s busy. I can use the button at the pedestrian crosswalk to change the light, or I can wait until a car comes along to trip the motion sensor. Or I can just go if it’s all clear, red light or no. Weighing the options, I look over my shoulder. A motorcyclist pulls up next to me and sure enough, he and his machine are heavy enough to trip the light.

I nod in his direction, then look down as I adjust my pedals. I always like to start with my right pedal up and left pedal down.

As the light changes he glances at me: at my red, sweaty, single-minded expression.

Race ya, he says.

Image from Yesterday's Antique Motorcycles, licensed to Wikimedia Commons under licensed under both GFDL and CC-BY-SA-2.5

Image from Yesterday’s Antique Motorcycles, licensed to Wikimedia Commons under GFDL and CC-BY-SA-2.5