Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Evolution of a Bike Ride

We bought our bikes soon after my first son was born.  My wife and I got matching Giant cross-road bikes, ones that would be comfortable for a long ride down a paved path, but could also bounce along off-road.  We also bought a co-pilot seat and helmet for our son, and a rack for the mini-van.  (NOTE:  Dude seriously, a mini-van?  You are soo cool.)

When we got home I attached a wire frame to the rear of my bike and slid the co-pilot seat onto it.  We were set.  Many of the rides in those early days were along paved trails.  Being new parents, we were totally paranoid about riding on the open roads with our baby.  Even in the neighborhood.  We eventually conquered our fears, and whether the rides were short jaunts to a neighborhood playground or several miles of pathway at a local park, we got good use out of our bikes.

Later my son got a bike of his own, and it worked for the rides in the neighborhood, but for summer trips to Hilton Head or rides along the river he still sat in the co-pilot seat.

Then his brother was born, and there was an issue with seating capacity.  It all worked out, though.   Right around the time my second son was able to ride comfortably in the co-pilot seat, a friend sold me one of those attachments to turn a regular bike into a tandem.  Since the co-pilot frame was attached to my bike, my wife’s bike became the tandem, and my older son was just big enough to ride it.  We could still go out as a duo, each with a child in tow.

Then my older son grew big enough to ride on his own and we hit the trails as a trio.  When my younger son was finally big enough to ride the tandem I retired the co-pilot seat to its hook on the garage wall.  I didn’t bother to take the frame off the back of my bike, mainly out of laziness, a quality in which I am abundant, but also out of foreshadowing, which you will understand in the next paragraph, so please read on…

This year my younger son was finally big enough to ride his own bike, and our trio became a foursome.  We took our bikes to Hilton Head this summer and rode them to the beach every day.  I found a way to strap two boogie boards together, and attach them to – you’ll never guess – the co-pilot frame.  We bought new beach chairs that had straps so we could wear them like backpacks, and each chair had a small cooler-pouch and a pouch for books / magazines.  Our beach umbrella came in a sack that I could sling across my chest like a bandolier, and my older son wore a backpack with our beach toys.  We didn’t have to hunt for parking spots, or get the car (okay, mini-van) sandy and salty.  We were the mark of efficiency.

We have a BMX park nearby home, and both boys are big enough to ride the course, something I really enjoy doing with them.  We still go on long rides, there are several trails that cross town, each with a number of parks along the way.  Nowadays our rides are slow paced…they must be, so the young one can keep up.  But I have a feeling that our rides will soon evolve again, and both boys will be able to keep up with us.

And then…then my wife and I will start to slow down, and the boys will pull ahead.  We’ll be the ones struggling to keep up.  The kids will be turning back to us, impatiently telling us to keep moving, pedal, don’t stop, this was your idea…after all, we’ve said the same things to them enough times.

But you know what?  As long as we’re still riding together, I don’t mind.


jbchicoine said...

What an efficient crew you are!

When we go for a bike ride, it’s on our tandem, which works out very well for me! :)

Anita said...

I'm crying. This sounds a lot like us.

Rick Daley said...

I love our bike ride days. Gets us out in the open air, we're together as a family, we all enjoy it, and it doesn't cost anything.

Some days we'll pack a lunch, and occasionally we'll go out to eat afterward.

I love how the story is a natural metaphor for watching my kids go from infant to toddler to little boys.

Teri said...

Your story brings back memories. My hubby and I also did the same when our daughter was little. We would pack a picnic lunch and bike for the entire day. Oh, what a great way to spend a sunny afternoon with the family.
Thanks for sharing.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Teri!

Rich said...

I'll send you the "family on bikes" photo so you can post it. It is on the Wall of Fame!

Rick Daley said...

And now we have a full visual of the efficiency of the beach caravan.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

How awesome you guys look! :)

And really, I could have done without that last little bit. I'm trying to stop the aging process by sheer force of will, or failing that, studious ignoring. For both me and the boys.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Sue. Unfortunately the last little bit was the inspiration for the whole post, so it demanded inclusion.

Anonymous said...

A simple twist of the wrist and you can move between the first, second and thrd gears with ease and the chain doesn't move at all Affordable Cruiser Bicycle.