Suburban Superman

April 9, 2023

I have previously lamented the lack of opportunities for amateur distance runners to be action heroes. Today, though, I had just such an opportunity. I enjoyed it greatly, knowing that the chance may not come again anytime soon. Here’s how it went….

My eldest son had been scheduled to help with childcare at our church‘s early (9:30am) service. However, when he awakens at 8:25, he is still fairly sick with the family cold from which the rest of us have mostly recovered.

At 8:45 I reach the director of family ministries. I confirm that she does not want an ill, symptomatic teen to be caring for other people’s children. I volunteer to send myself or my wife in place of my son. She gratefully accepts.

At 8:55 we realize that my mother-in-law will be needing her car to attend her own church service, meaning that we are down to one car, which will be needed for transportation to the 11:15 service. The family volunteer will have to get to church, 5.8 miles away, by bicycle, by 9:30am. My wife is not capable of this. It is down to me.

9:04: Having hastily changed into church clothes, I am helmeted and hurtling down the road.

9:12: Quick stop to take off my jacket and thereby avoid totally drenching myself in sweat. Apparently I’m the sort of action hero who has to maintain a respectable appearance at all times, regardless of the circumstances.

9:16: Reaching the corner of 125th and 35th. 3 miles to go.

9:19: Passing the Nathan Hale track and then the Meadowbrook Community Center. Big uphill still ahead.

9:26: Passing Grand Central Bakery on 75th, smelling the finish.

9:28: Pulling into the bike rack at the church.

9:29: Frantically signing in on a church computer.

9:30: Arriving at child care to find a room full of three babies, seven somewhat older kids, and a couple of grown-ups. Yes, I am needed, and yes, I’ve made it. I feel good. Cue end-credit montage of me making the babies giggle, etc.


  1. Greg, great story but you left out a key detail: what kind of bike were you riding? Am old clunker that weighs 50 pounds or a sleek titanium road bike? I suspect the former. I still remember seeing an unknown cyclist powering up Harvard St. from the University Bridge riding an old tank of a bicycle. I couldn’t catch him despite the fact that I was riding a vastly lighter bike. At a stop sign, I finally caught up and saw that the mystery bicyclist was you.

    • It was a Cannondale Quick CX — definitely a better bike than you remember me having in the old days!

  2. […] Explorations of life's curves and straightaways. « Suburban Superman […]

  3. Way to go, Greg!

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