“Do you affirm that you have been properly trained in the use and care of this equipment?” I read the form out loud, jokingly.

“I do.”

I glanced up and realized that Clara was taking this process very seriously.

“Oh..” I initialed the first line of the form, then I cleared my throat and continued. “Okay. Do you promise to always wear proper safety equipment, such as helmets, pads and proper shoes while riding?”

“I do.” She held her right hand in the air for some reason as she answered. She was staring hard, speaking in soft solemn tones.

“Okay…” I initialed the next line on the liability form, while we waited for the man to finish pumping up the tires on her new bicycle.

“Do you promise to always ride your bike on approved roads and trails, making way for cars and other motor vehicles?”

“I do.”

“Do you agree to not hold Sports Authority liable for any damage caused by, or to, your new bicycle due to negligence or misuse?”

She hesitated, “I do.”

“Do you agree to give the rest of your birthday money to your father so that he can go buy himself ice cream without you?”

“I- Hey!” She pulled the paper across the counter. “It doesn’t say that! Does it say that?”


She slugged me in the arm. The man was already taking her new bike down off of the service rack and wheeling it towards us. She hopped over to it, and bent to watch its wheels turn, the spokes rotate. She ran her hands across its white and purple features as if she were greeting a new horse, letting it become use to her delicate touch.

The man, introduced her to the gear trigger. “Seven gears?!” She looked back at us. “That’s perfect! Seven gears for seven years!” We smiled back. It was perfect. It was even on clearance.

She insisted on riding it out the door. Clara had her bike. And now there was nothing that was going to stop her ever again.

Here are some pictures of her breaking rule number two and riding without her helmet in front of our house this weekend. We could only take it out for about two minutes in the wind. I’ll have to pull out our carbon copy of the form and remind her that we could get sued. But now we are all even more excited about summer than we already were.