Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Kid

Cycling on a paved trail was a new experience for my biking friend Roy and I.  This year marked the 6th time that we had taken off into the wilds for a week to ten days of bike-packing - usually on the rough gravel trails of the Kettle Valley Railway.

Almost immediately we could sense that this fine, flat and well maintained trail would allow us to make record mileage in record time.  The descent from the trailhead at Plummer led us to crossing an old railroad bridge with a terrific view of Chatcolet Lake and the many boaters enjoying the hot summer weather.
The captain is on the bridge
After two and a half hours of skirting the lake, passing summer cottages and sunbathers relaxing on wooden docks, we rode into Harrison - a sleepy resort town with tree lined streets and old brick buildings.  At the marina Roy managed to find a strange combination of birthday cake and cookie dough ice cream -  it was lunchtime after all!

At the same time that we pulled back onto the trail, a young lad was passing the marina and when I caught up to him, I recognized him from a large group of boy scouts we had seen gathering at the foot of the bridge.  It wasn't long before we began to race and I'd like to think that he was surprised that a grey hair like me could and would race him.  When I got bored with shouting over to him "You're doing 26 miles per hour!", I dropped back to let Roy take over with his ice cream fueled legs.

What 26 mph looks like
While we never learned the boy's name, we did discover that he had many brothers and sisters.  I thought I'd misheard when he told me that he had 17 siblings and when Roy rode side by side with him the boy related to Roy that he had 16 siblings.  Either way, that is one big family.
The kid with a large family
It was while we stopped to photograph a large raptor that the boy continued pedaling and while I thought we might never see the kid again it was only 20 minutes later that coming toward us was an adult with a very unhappy looking 11 - 12 year old riding beside him.  I speculated that one of the scout leaders had finally caught up to him and chastised him for not staying with the group.  Who can blame a kid on a decent bike, in fine weather, on a smooth trail and the chance to beat a couple of adults at a fun game?
Enraptured with a raptor

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