Saturday afternoon, as I was pulling up to a student’s house, I saw what appeared to be a father-daughter duo slogging up the big hill I had just driven down.

Dad, or big brother, had long since blasted up the hill as I was negotiating my u-turn to park precisely where this girl was stuck, so I had plenty of time to witness her negotiations with the bike and the hill.

I recognized her relationship to the bike from my relationship with the clothes my mother bought (and still buys) me: a little too large, so I’ll have room to grow into it. So, she was struggling with a slightly too big, definitely too heavy, bike (I’ll wager it weighs more than she does). The hill was pretty steep, and she’d lost momentum.

I wanted to roll down the window and yell some combination of “been there, felt that” and “allez, allez” but was too conscious of being a stalking vehicle that was probably making her even more nervous.

Eventually, she mustered the strength to get the bike rolling again. I parked, but my last glimpse of her was her walking the bike the rest of the way up the climb.

Been there, felt that.

I don’t want that girl to get demoralized, to give up. That’s a hard hill. Hardcore cyclists train there. Did tiger dad really think it was appropriate for a ten year old?

Can we do a cyclist version of “it gets better”?

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