The place where I purchased my bike, Bicycle Sports, in Beaumont, Texas, sent me a flyer, inviting me to join the Midnight Madness bike ride.
Bike riders are a great group of people. This gathering was to raise money for children. That got my attention so I decided to join the riders at City Hall at 11:00 p.m. and ride until 1:00 a.m.
We were given instruction and information how and what to do during the hours of riding. A Police car was designated to be in front of the riders. Vans were provided in case any rider ran into a problem. The vans would bring you back to City Hall.
Each rider was given a number, a bag full of nothings and I begin to feel like I was going to be a part of something special.
All of us were gathered together waiting for the lead Police car to go before us and start the ride. I glanced over and immediately was surrounded by hundreds of people. I felt lucky because I was with the, let's say, younger group of 8-10 year-olds! I felt superior among them! Of course I would breeze through this race; look at all these children. If they can ride 16 miles, certainly I would not have a problem.
The announcer announced the ride was beginning. I felt a surge of excitement just knowing that I was a part of all these people riding for a great cause.
The lead car began driving 12 miles an hour. All 500 people that were registered begin to ride. The hair on my body stood up with all the excitement.
The adults (the serious riders) wanted to get us out of the way so they let us go first. There were other grandmothers along side of me. While riding I could hear from behind me: "on your right" and I remembered reading Lance Armstrong's book, which is a signal that someone will be passing me on my right. Again, more goose bumps appeared. I felt like I was in The Le Tour de France. Boy, it was not long that I KNEW where I was....stuck in the middle of hundreds of people riding and zooming past me.
I have a newfound respect for bikers! There isn't a word to describe the pain in my butt when I was struggling to survive! How on earth do my children, John and Deborah and Ya’ll ride over hills, bridges and so many miles?
Our first obstacle was a small bridge (overpass). I kept up with the group until I reached the bridge. I shifted my gears to accommodate the height of the bridge. I wanted to get off the bike and walk but when I noticed the children passing by, my pride kicked in. Also, I was afraid I would start going backwards so I kept on pumping and peddling. Some little kid asked me: "when you get to the top of the bridge, are you going to coast?" You bet your (a-- I thought inside of my head but did not say) dollar I am, I said.
After the bridge episode I rode as long as I could, then I called for the Van to pick me up. I was so embarrassed while standing on the side of the road with my bike, pretending to look at something on the ground while waiting for the Van to get to me. As each rider (including children that were zooming by, the age of my grandson, Hunter) passed, they turned to see who was that lady, in pink? It was I!
Then a policeman came and picked me up in the squad van. He took me to my car, helped me load up my bike on the rack and then left. After I pulled out of the parking lot we drove side-by-side and I noticed the door to his van was open and bikes were rolling around the inside. I honked, I flicked my bright light on and off to get his attention....he did not notice. Then he drove off so fast that bikes were falling out of the van. Not wanting him to get fired from losing valuable police bikes I followed him in pursuit to try and get him to stop! No results.
I called 9-11 to let them know what happened and gave them the location where the bikes were......ON TOP OF AN OVERPASS! So, I pulled my car over to the edge of the overpass and waited and waited...still no police. I got out of my car and raced to get the bike out of the road and leaned it on the overpass railing. I called 9-11 again and found out there was a MAJOR accident on 1-10! I prayed to God it was not caused by the policeman in the Van. About another five minutes went by and then a bright light in back of me was shinning in my face. The police arrived! He was thrilled he found the bike. So you see, Grandmere was meant to ride but next year I will be READY FOR THE RIDE OF MY LIFE!
It may look easy but by the aches I have for just that short ride, it is the hardest exercise I've had since I was a kid.
Speaking of being a child... James, my brother, and I were so close. He was my Knight. I was his little sister and he spoiled me rotten. He bought me my very first bike. It was known as a refinery bike. Back then these bikes were a means of transportation for the refinery workers to get back and forth to work. The bike was made out of steel and weighted twice as much as I weighted. He painted my second-hand bike and presented it to me. I was the happiest child on earth. The bike was taller than I but that did not stop me from learning how to ride. I still have the scars on my knees to remind me how much I loved that old bike and how much my brother loved me.
It was the most fun I have had in a very long time. Even though at 64 (soon to be) I knew my place and I know what I have to do to train to survive next year. The idea of the ride was to raise money for children and at the same time be with a great group of people. What a night! It was truly "Midnight Madness."
We are sent special friends to share our lives, we can be ourselves, talk with, laugh with, hope with....like you!