I threw away my biker button. Eldest and Middlest and I once matched. Not now.
Flicked it away at the top of the last hill home, at the top of Monster Hill when all I had left was the long glide down and around into the edges of habitation and a short puff and grind up our steep but small hill home.
We had come more than 80 miles that day, the usual route home from the coast, a ride I've done for more than half a dozen years now. We had left early, made good time, the sky still fully light though the sun gone down. But I was spent in more ways than one.
"It's just that we don't want to hear again how you had to wait for us and pedal slow when we were younger."
"Then I don't want to have to be telling you to wait at the top of the hills and otherwise keep in sight of us slower ones."
There was a time I was the faster cyclist. They were the ones trained me in riding slow. I had to ride right behind them, jollying them on, cheering their effort, reassuring them, hearing their moans, keeping myself sane imagining how it would be when they grew up, grew strong and we rode together painlessly.
Which never happened.
One summer I had to hold myself back, the next summer couldn't keep up.
So, at the top of Monster Hill, glancing down at that button pinned into the strap of my camelback, I thought, "Biker chick? - hah! This was never my dream anyway." And I snatched the button out and tossed it away into the brambles on the side of the road.
the secret gardens,
what happens in my lungs and legs when climbing hills,
"Would it bother you if I took a picture while you mend net?"
"Nope. Wouldn't bother me. Don't I see you ride past everyday?"