Chapter 19 - Rikka's Dad's Hand-Me-Down Bike

Honestly, Rikka... She just blurts out "I'm gonna go get my bike too!" and then runs off...
She certainly did seem to be fired up about it. Do you suppose she has it parked somewhere nearby?
Yes, the Shirakawa family business has some office space very close by... We had left it in their care.
Close by...? But that's in the Marunouchi district...
My, but aren't the girls at the main St. Michael's campus something else♪
Um, Miya... Be nice to Rikka, okay?
B- But of course. I was just a bit surprised by her sudden appearance earlier, that's all.
Oh, really? It looked to me like you were pretty shook up.
I- I most certainly was not!!
Good, then. I was a little worried...
By the way, about Rikka-kun. She seems to be packing a bit of muscle on her frame. Is she involved some kind of sports?
Yeah, she does track and field. I heard she even set an impressive record at the last meet.
If- If I were to bother with the effort of track and field, I'm certain I could rival her time...
I just got done telling you not to try and show her up, Miya.
So Rikka-kun is an athletic woman, is she? We should make great cycling buddies, then.
That's right. But, well... I really doubt Rikka needs to lose any weight.
Oh...? Risa-sama, would you happen to be trying to lose weight?
W- Well, I uh...
That's right, Sayuki-san. Risa is going on a cycling diet.
H- Hey, Miya, you don't need to be so blunt about it... Nnnh, it's so embarrassing.
You've got nothing to hide, have you? Hehehe.
A cycling... diet...?
Haah, haah, haah... Thanks for waiting.
Welcome back, Rikka. Wait, that's your bike?
Hm... Would that happen to be a road bike?
Although actually... It's an old hand-me-down from my step-dad.
Oh my, so then that was what your father rode about on?
He told me it's an old model from more than 10 years ago. But it's got a unique look. I like it♪
My knowledge is a bit lacking when it comes to bicycles... But it's quite lovely.
It's been handled with great care, hasn't it, Rikka-san?
Yeah... It's really important to me.
Ohh... I see, I see. Would you mind if I took a closer look?
Go right ahead.
Thank you... This is quite a rare find, you know.
Rare...? Satsuki-san, isn't this one of those road bikes you're supposed to be able to go super fast on?
That's right. This model was made by the American manufacturer Kestral around 2000... But I wouldn't quite call it a road bike...
Oh? It's not?
This is more like the kind of model you would use in a triathlon.
A triathlon... That would be the ironman competition consisting of swimming, cycling, and running, correct?
Ironman...? For people like Rikka?
Hm... Most of the parts look new. I wonder if Rikka-kun did a restoration...
Oh, sorry. Basically it means Rikka-kun took this 10-plus-year-old racing bike and fixed it up with all new parts to suit her needs.
A racing bike...? Th- That sounds pretty expensive...
It's got a full carbon aero frame from the early 2000s. Back then, that probably would've been pretty expensive.
What's an "aero"?
Oh, it means the frame was designed to be aerodynamic and minimize wind resistance as much as possible.
Look, see how there's no tube beneath the seat?
Oh... Is it safe like that?
It probably has a strength rating. Also...
These handlebars have aerodynamic accessories too.
It's quite different from our bicycles.
These two bars in the middle are called "aerobars." You hold one in each hand while resting your elbows on these pads.
Doing so drastically reduces the size of your upper body's profile, resulting in decreased wind resistance... Or that's the theory, at least.
Hmm... It seems you could really fly on that thing.
Oh wow, is that what those are for? I had no idea♪
Y- You've been riding it all this time and you didn't even know...?
By the way, you two have matching cross bikes, don't you?
Why yes, we do. You can see how passionate our bond is, can you not? Hehehe♡
Wh- What the heck are you talking about?!
I love my bike, but I think I kind of like the girlish design of yours too...
You may not copy us, and you may not buy the same model. These are Risa's and my...
I- I get it! I told you, I'm happy with my bike...
Ahh... It must be so nice...
Huh? Sayuki-san, what's wrong?
I- It was nothing. I'm curious, Rikka-san, is that bicycle of yours quite fast?
I actually don't know if it is or not...
Well, why don't we go for a ride on this bike path? We can all go together.
Yes, let's... I would love to see what you're capable of.
Sure thing. All right Sayuki-san, we'll be right back.
Okay... Take care, Rikka-san.
Oh man, this is so awesome~!
H- Hold on, Rikka! Wait for us!!
Well look at that, she's just like you were yesterday, Risa.
Even I wasn't riding that fast! Honestly, Rikka... Haah, haah...
Forget about her. Let's just take our time together, Risa♡
Yeah... Okay.
I'm back! Phew, I haven't ridden that hard in a long time♪
Your speed is impressive, Rikka-kun.
It truly is... I was quite astonished.
We're back~
Oh, welcome back you guys.
Haah... Come on, Rikka, you left us in the dust back there.
My bad, I just got so into it... You guys took it pretty slow, huh?
Yeah, we're trying to control our heart rate as we ride.
Huh? What're you doing that for?
The goal is to ride in the manner that will most efficiently burn fat. To put it quite bluntly, it's in order to lose weight.
Losing weight, huh... Now I get it, so this diet is the reason you're able to eat so much and never get fat, Miya-sama!
Oh no, I have no need to diet.
Huh...? But then why...
The reason is that I'm supporting my dear Risa in her endeavors to lose weight. Hehe♡
Geeze Miya, why are you always telling people more than they need to know...
Geeze, I'm sorry you guys.
I just, you know, thought it would be fun to be able to lose weight while having fun riding around with my friends... That's all.
99% of Risa's focus is on losing weight, however.
Darn it, Miya!
Riding around, huh? That does sound fun♪ You said with your friends, so you've been riding with other people too?
Yeah, the others are Mai-sama, and... Well, she's really just observing from the sidelines, so would Reo-sama count too?
That sounds nice. I wouldn't mind joining you on the days when I don't have any club activities...
You're more than welcome to. Isn't that right, Miya?
If you're all right with it, then I have no objections.
Really? That's great♡
However! If you so much as think of making a move on my Risa...
I would never do that! I've got Sayuki-san...
...Nh... Hnnh...
Hm? Sayuki-san...?
Sayuki-san, you don't look too good. Is something wrong?
It- It's just... It's just that I... Waaaaah...
Sayuki-san, are you crying?! Do you not feel well?
She's seemed a little off for a while now. We should find somewhere to sit down.
N- No, it isn't that... Hnnh...
Then what is it?
I merely wish to participate with you, just as you're doing.
I wish to be with you always, just as Risa-sama and Miya-sama are!
G- Geeze... Sayuki-san...
I never wish to leave your side...
Sayuki-san... I'm thrilled to hear you say that. So if that's all it is, we can...
However... However, it cannot be so.
Why's that, Sayuki-kun?
Because... I- I don't know how to ride a bicycle!!

Marunouchi is the area between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. One of Japan's most prestigious business districts, it houses the headquarters for companies such as Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and Konica Minolta.
Kestral is a reference to American bicycle manufacturer Kestrel.

To be continued... Next time♪

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