I came upon an old woman pushing her bike. We were near the place where the secondary bike path, the one most people don’t use, turns into a trail. We were the only ones out this far, and the houses that line the path were fewer and farther apart.
I thought, “Well, maybe she has a flat. I’d better check on her.”
I slowed as I approached, not sure she’d even seen me. “You ok?” I asked. She explained that she had some leaves and twigs caught under her fender. I pointed out that her wheel was rolling just fine. She was a little confused by this observation, maybe embarrassed. She said, “You don’t have fenders,” as if this resolved something. Then she asked where the trail ended, and when I said, “In an office park, actually,” she looked even more confused.
“Well, where are you going,” she asked.
“To Concord, eventually,” I said. “But there’s some winding around in the woods to get there.”
She smiled. “I don’t like to ride on the road,” she said.
It was a slightly awkward moment. I think she was glad I was concerned about her, but like me, she just wanted to be left alone.