The Best Rides Aren’t for Training

Mosier Trail, Columbia River Gorge

I decided to take a chance tonight. I asked my 12 year old daughter to turn off Stranger Things and come for a road ride with me. Mind you, she has made it very clear on several occasions that she does not like any sport that is non-dance related.

After some initial resistance, she relented. I optimistically pumped up some tires and set off for the Mosier trail, a beautiful car free segment of the historic Columbia River Highway.

As we pulled in to the parking lot, she complained about the small hill at the beginning of the trail. She stared at her phone and let me know that she did not want to change into a cooler shirt or help move the bikes off of the rack. We awkwardly took off from the parking lot and I held my breath as I watched her swerve on the skinny tires and almost ride off of the road. After a quick lesson on brakes and shifting, the girl took off like a little rocket (still complaining…).

When I looked at my bike computer, I let her know that she was climbing a hill at my race pace. She smiled despite herself and started to lighten up. After about 3 miles we stopped at a lookout. She was ready to go back, and we made it a 6 mile round trip.

When we returned she told me that she “actually felt good” on the bike. I could see her shift in mood and confidence. It hit me that she has been telling herself a story about the type of athlete that she will be, which affected her willingness to try.

I started to ponder about messages that we get, rather overt or passive, about who we are and what we are capable of achieving. My hope for her is that she won’t limit herself due to insecurities or self-consciousness. I hope to show her that it doesn’t matter how fast or how far you can go, as long as you try.


  1. Persistence (and turning off electronics) with tweens can make them spend time with us.
  2. We all have stories that we tell ourselves, but we can change the chapters.
  3. Magical perspective shifts can happen on a bike.

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