I posted the following on Diary’s Facebook yesterday:


I don’t have the words to tell you how big this is. Every year, I’ve had to pull Brooke in a trailer behind my bike. This year, at ten, it just wasn’t going to happen. Last year, we tried an alley cat. She shrieked like, well, an alley cat. She was terrified by the sway. This year, Luau pushed just enough to get her to try the tandem. And she did. And she loved it.

I have no words big enough for this.

This is a family bike ride.

It was hard and awesome and exhausting and messy and breathtakingly beautiful … just like the whole damn journey.


This is big.

We rode 12 1/2 miles.


Our destination was Millie’s Market in Madaket, where we stopped for a rest, along with a milkshake or two, and then we were back on the bikes.

The entire way there, Brooke was saying again and again, “It’s a race! I guess we’re winning the race!”

Katie and I rode together while Luau and Brooke rode on ahead, fulfilling Brooke’s need for speed.

Katie was struggling. In full tween mode, she was “sooooooooo tired” and “sooooooooo done” and the ride was “sooooooooo long.”

I gently prodded and nicely cajoled and at times got outright pissed.

Finally, I walked my bike next to hers up a hill. We talked about the amazing parts of the ride. I told her not to pedal when she didn’t have to. To coast when she could. To feel the delicious island breeze on her entire body.

I told her to take in her surroundings – the Atlantic in the distance off to her left, over the bluffs and past the fields, beyond the houses dotting the hills, perched high above the water. The lush, varied green on the right, hills and valleys undulating until they disappeared over the last visible ridge.

“I know it can be tough, baby,” I said as we hopped back on the bikes. “Just remember, “Pedal when you have to; coast when you can, and don’t forget to look around.”

On the next downhill, she yelled behind her, “Mama! Are you coasting?”

“I am, baby!” I yelled back over the wind.

And coast we did, until the next hill demanded that we work for it.

As we pedaled through the incline, I wondered aloud if Luau and Brooke had just gone home without us, as we hadn’t seen them in so long. Katie pointed into the distance. “Nope,” she said, “They’re up there waiting for us.”

I had to squint to distinguish Luau’s green shirt from the bike path sign next to which he was standing. At that distance, the bike itself and its smaller rider blended into the rough hewn fence beside them, but there they were, waiting for us to catch up.

I smiled.

A family bike ride.

As we got closer, Katie yelled, “Go ahead guys, we’re here!”

They didn’t hear her. I told her not to yell again. It was kinda nice that they were waiting for us.

As we pulled up next to them, I asked Brooke a question.

“Are you winning the race, baby?”

Her answer was not what I expected, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.

“We all are!”

We went on a family bike ride.

Pedaling when we had to. Coasting when we could. And enjoying the hell out of the ride.

Winning indeed.


18 thoughts on “winning

  1. Wonderful! We never did family bike rides when I was a kid, but I always loved to ride. That is a very neat bike, I had never seen one and had to google it. The most important advice I have is that grown ups should wear helmets, too. Even big people can crash.

  2. Love this so much. When I saw the picture on Facebook I almost yelled “Brooke is riding a bike!” Thanks for allowing us to share in the triumphs.

  3. It’s really what life is all about. LIVING in those moments. Realizing how much they mean as they are happening. I’m so happy that your family had that wonderful bike ride and made a beautiful memory 🙂

  4. If she has a need for speed, you need to see if there’s a ride-along program in your area similar to Team Hoyt. Something tells me she’d LOVE it!! 🙂 If you need help locating a group in your area, please let me know. While on the outside it may appear that only physically challenged individuals can “ride”, my son LOVES Team Hoyt and his friends that he’s met. (I’m linking to this post an article that was written about my son and his best friend)

    This is such a wonderful thing though! 🙂 glad she’s having fun!

  5. It’s hard to have a favorite post when all your posts are so beautiful. But this just might be my favorite ever! You are definitely all winning 🙂 In every way. And thanks for the fabulous words to live by: “Pedal when you have to; coast when you can, and don’t forget to look around.” -Tommy’s mom ❤

  6. Pingback: “Pedal when you… | Walkin' on the edge

  7. “Pedal when you have to; coast when you can, and don’t forget to look around.” – wow – just wow. Had to post this on my blog with a link back to your post. That’s just too perfect, and the post to beautiful not to share.

  8. She moves forward on fragmented fronts as does the whole family. Great ride and great strides. It will all come to be fine little by little.
    Love you all,

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