When those two kids approached me about riding the Tour du Canada, I thought about lots of things, none of which included how the leadership of the Tour might react. The next day, it weighed on my mind.
The Tour is owned by Cycle Canada, a company led by Bud and Margot. I e-mailed them about having two 13-year-olds join me in 2018. Not many hours later, I had an answer. Margot recalled a 13-year-old girl who set off from Vancouver with her mom on a tandem bicycle. Soon it became clear that the girl didn’t want to ride the whole time. She was bored. Sometimes she took the bus while her mother rode the tandem alone. Not good.
Margot also brought up the possibility that at some point both kids couldn’t ride. There are only two extra seats in the truck and I’d have to be in there too to look out for my young friends.
Margot’s response to me was well thought out and reasonable.
But I sighed. Is the dream dashed even before parents start considering the situation? I decided to write her back.
What if in the future I could provide training logs to show that the students were committed to be fit enough to cross the country? And Margot, Bud, the kids, their parents and I could Skype to talk it all out. I wondered if there was any wiggle room.
Also I mentioned a book – the only one I’ve read three times. Hey, Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America?
Margot replied. No wiggle room. The American kids had flexibility in their schedule. They could take an extra day if need be. But the Tour du Canada is tied to a firm schedule, with details such as campground reservations and ferry schedules to be considered. Plus everyone in that truck has to have a seatbelt or the government would shut the trip down.
Sigh again. I don’t feel that I’m right and Margot’s wrong. Both sides have their good points. But I’m sad.
Yesterday I told the class about the decision. The whole discussion would be academic if no children and their parents step forward down the road. I asked them to think of some creative ways that interested kids could go on far shorter rides with me in 2017. I’ll see what if anything come of that when I return from my meditation retreat in early March.
Life is often a big curve ball, I do believe. But I still love being in the game.