By Christopher Briscoe
There's a natural competitiveness between fathers and sons. On our bicycle trip up Route 66, my Felt eBike has narrowed the gap between the 64 year old dad and his 22 year old son. Often, near the end of a long day, we still like to race each other up hills. My eBike gives me a slight headstart, an important edge, but as we hit the 20 MPH mark, any assistance my bike gives me is programmed to completely shut off. Then I am on my own in my struggle to stay ahead of my boy, determined, even if my lungs and heart explode. At the point of my full cardiac arrest, my son pulls ahead. We laugh, he raises his arms in triumph and I smile inside, seeing a mirror image of myself at age 22, whiz past me.
Until Quincy was about 14, he and I would wrestle at every opportunity we had. Once when he was about 8, Quincy jumped up in the air to perform his famous body slam on me and came down so hard, the bed broke and splintered onto the floor. We had boatloads of other competitions we invented. One of our favorite contests was to see who could win the race to our car, get into the seat and be the first to fasten their seatbelt. That contest went on for years until I dashed off the front porch of our local coffee shop and snapping my calf muscle and had to go the ER.
During my first bike trip across America in 1976, a friend and I had so many flats that we held timed contests to see who could take off their tire, find the leak, patch the tube and re-inflate the tire to 80 lbs in record time. I am proud to say that I held that record for many years: 10 minutes/32 seconds. Quincy remembered me bragging about it, so when he got a flat recently, he insisted that I get out the timer. I have rarely seen him so focused and determined. The moment I said "go", his tools were already laid out on the blacktop. In spite of the 100 degree heat and intense humidity, he had his rear wheel off his bike and pulled out the tube with one yank. Remarkably, he found the puncture immediately and in no time was applying glue to the trouble spot. I did my best to distract him, with no luck.
As the seconds ticked by, Quincy's hands worked with the efficiency of a skilled surgeon. His final task was to pump up the tire to the required 80 psi. His right hand was like a jackhammer on the pump. He quickly snapped his tire gauge onto the valve and proclaimed, "yes! 80 psi exactly!" As the clock neared the 10 minute mark, he had the wheel already back on the bike. At 10 minutes/ 10 seconds, the bike was standing upright. Quincy's arms shot up into the air. A passing semi truck blasted its horn. The torch was passed and a new champion let the world know, "I am the greatest!"