The eco 'burban dad suggested a bike ride on Sunday morning. A bike ride to procure breakfast, a good 3 miles away. For any of you who have lots of children (particularly boys!) you will understand how much HARDER it was to ride to breakfast than it was to ride home from breakfast. Boys do anything better once food is in their stomachs!
We looked like parents of gangster-ducks. There was daddy pulling a trailer hauling the 4 year old. Following daddy was mom bouncing along on a bike (with a rather uncomfortable seat!) that hasn't been ridden in at least 7 years. Following that were three middle school age boys with fierce helmets in shiny chrome, wicked black and oh-so-cool gray that were designed for the skate park and snow board slopes because "they're cool like that". They don't wear regular "dorky" bike helmets you see. Which also means the littlest eco 'burban boy in the trailer? Yes, he was sporting a skater helmet in shiny red with a skull sticker, just to be like the big boys. Their bikes (with trick "pegs" of course) are beat up, muddy and well worn. We are not your average suburban family out for a Sunday ride to experience nature, the fresh air and open trails. We are a family of rough and tumble boys, wearing last year's faded baseball jerseys and camouflage shorts out to ride for breakfast!
We found a rails to trails project in our area that has turned an out-dated railroad into a trail system that connects a watershed and a river throughout our lake system. It's a great 6 mile trail, but we have to navigate a lot of subdivisions, traffic lights and busy roads just to get to the trail head - at least a mile and a half. When we do reach the trail head, the riding is easy, shady and peaceful. I hang back, happy to let the boys pass me and ride ahead, stopping at each trail marker so we all can catch up. There are gorgeous blue heron along the way, signs for deer crossing and water habitat scenic areas with benches and informational signs. The trail runs for 6 miles, but since we traveled a good distance just to reach the trail, we stop at the first town along the route to eat breakfast. Then we turned back, heading for home, proud our first family bike outing was a 6-mile trek - no car necessary.
Tonight, as I write this, my arms and backside are aching and sore. I am sure it will only be worse in the morning. But, as I go to sleep tonight I will hear sounds from a 6-mile ride we took as a family to eat a Sunday breakfast.
"Mom! That was a HUGE pothole! Did ya see it? I jumped it!"
"Dad is faster than you mom, his legs are bigger!" (Ummm, that's OK by me!)
"It fees so much better when we are in the shade."
"That hill we coasted down is going to really suck when we have to ride back up on the way home!"
"I like this trail, mom, it's so much better than the road! There's cool stuff out here!"
"What can we order for breakfast? I could eat like eggs and pancakes and bacon and some strawberries and maybe milk. Yeah, I'm thirsty too."
"Are we going to do this again sometime?"
"Hey, Mom? I didn't know you could ride a bike?!?!"
15 hours ago