Two weeks ago I rode my bike for 8 miles. In the dark. It was a Moonlight Ride in support of a charity that is trying to make my city a little better for those who bike and walk it regularly (like me). I was joined by my husband, a local friend, one of my lifelong best friends and her eight-year-old daughter, aka my “niece”. (You know like the “aunt” or “uncle” that isn’t biologically related, just really, really good friends with your parents — or maybe that’s just my normal.)
It was a closed course and I was excited about riding on the city streets without traffic. How often do you get the opportunity to ride down the middle of the road and blow through stoplights with wild abandon? I knew I would be impressed with that part of the experience, but what ended up being the highlight of the evening was experiencing it with my niece.
If not for her, I might have ridden by the party stop and missed out on fun music, paper cups of animal crackers, and the woman with the disco ball on the back of her bike. If not for her I might have ridden faster and not slowed down to take it all in. Might have missed how the wind felt on my face as I breezed down hills.
If not for her, I might have lost my nerve on the dark part of the course that wound through a city park, lit only by glow sticks (yes, glow sticks). Something about encouraging her and telling her how brave and awesome she was, gave me courage to move ahead without being able to see the road in front of me. Because let’s face it, I really, really like to see what’s coming. But sometimes, I can’t. Sometimes I need the faith of an eight year old to get me through the dark.
*Artwork in photo courtesy of my “niece.”