by Noah Laubscher
“Wake up, Noah.” I wriggled my head under my pillow hoping that the voice and the shaking hand would go away. It was still dark. Why was Ma saying that I had to wake up. Then I remembered. Spring Cycle!!
Today I was going to ride my bike 50 km – across the Harbour Bridge – with heaps of other people.
Ma and I have been practising for weeks. Not just so I would get used to riding longer distances, but we went on trains (I didn’t even know you could take your bike on a train!) and up and down stairs (“Can’t we use the lift?” “No”, said Ma. “On Spring Cycle Day there will be so many people you won’t want to be waiting for the lift. And I can’t carry two bikes.”
And today was the day. Pa had put our bikes in the car the day before. And last night we’d made sure we had all our gear. Numbers, zip ties, food. So this morning all we had to do was get dressed (I was a bit disappointed that my Spring Cycle jersey hadn’t arrived, but Ma said she would sort that out at the start in North Sydney… and she did), eat our breakfast and go.
“Wait”, said Ma, coming at me with a big black permanent marker pen. “Let me write my phone number on you in case you get lost.” She can be so embarrassing. Doesn’t she know I’m eleven. I’m not going to get lost. (Maybe I should be writing MY phone number on HER arm?)
And off we went. Bikes out of the car at the station and down the stairs to catch the “special” Spring Cycle train. Another thing for Ma to worry about – we had to change trains to get to North Sydney. Town Hall? Central? Which would be best? Luckily all the other Spring Cyclists on the train were so friendly and helpful and they told us exactly what to do.
The sun was rising as the train headed over the Harbour Bridge and before we knew it we were at North Sydney. And so was everyone else in the world I think. There were bikes everywhere. So glad I knew how to pick mine up and carry it up the stairs.
All the people at the start! It was amazing. We inched our way forward in a sea of bikes and suddenly we were right at the front. We got ready. The hooter sounded and off we went. Yay!!! Homebush here we come.
That’s when Ma found out my gears weren’t working. She wasn’t very happy. I said I’d be fine. I had two. All I had to do was take my hand off the handlebars and push the lever with the heel of my hand like this. No, No, No, said Ma. So at the first rest stop we had to hunt up a bike mechanic. Luckily I found Lee, from Town Bike Pit Stop (ph (02) 9699 0096 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). He was so clever. It didn’t take him long and he got my rear gears working beautifully. Thank you so much, Lee.
After that it was all smooth pedalling. Mostly it was flat, there were only a couple of little hills, but I didn’t have to walk. We saw lots of Sydney that I’d never seen before. There were plenty of friendly volunteers and police to help us know where to go and keep us safe when there were cars.
We stopped at all the rest stops and had something to eat and drink (I had to make sure Ma didn’t get dehydrated or hungry). The weather was perfect. It didn’t rain like the forecast said it would. I didn’t get lost… and neither did Ma.
We had a lovely day. When Mum asked me later how I went, I told her, “I’d have done it quicker if I hadn’t had to wait for Ma”. Ma reckons we’ll see about that next year.