To the girls I met on the street last week,
Since I started cycling, I’ve learned to dread meeting a group of young people on the trails. I really hate to say it. But nine times out of 10, someone will step in front of my bike, yell abuse, or throw something at me while I pass. Girls, boys, mixed groups – it doesn’t matter. I’ve learned to show no fear (but hold my breath) and while I try to brush it off – it’s never pleasant.
Last week, I was on my bike cycling back to the office when I saw you. You were with your girlfriends (about 10 years old I would imagine) coming my direction on the pavement. On seeing me, you began to whisper and giggle and from my experience, it filled me with dread. As I got closer, I saw you take a deep breath and I braced for the impact…
You are AWESOME!
I didn’t realise what you said until I was already past. I was so prepared for you to yell something awful that I couldn’t respond when it was something otherwise. It took me a couple minutes and all I could do was smile. It was something so simple, but it made my day.
Not only did you take a moment with your friends to shout words of encouragement to a stranger cycling uphill, but you reminded me of why I love to cycle – how the bike allows such complete possibility in every interaction on the streets.
As you get older, don’t ever forget your ability to make someone’s day. Next time I see you, I’ll be sure to give you a high-five.