Sunday morning, I put my son in the child seat of my bike and set out for a quick ride. He had never taken a bike ride before, and at one and a half, that was far too long to go without a bike ride. I hit the bike path and did a 20 or 30 minute round trip because I haven’t been riding recently, either. I didn’t want to overdo it for me or for him.
I felt good, and I even managed to work in a stretching routine after the ride. My son, clearly, was not overwhelmed as he was fast asleep when we got back. I transferred him to his crib after taking off his bike helmet and shoes. So much for the excitement of a new experience.
On Thursday, my daughter rode her bike all the way to school. Previously, I pushed the double stroller with both kids all the way with the occasional bit of walking by my daughter. One day she even walked all the way home, but this is not a practical way for us to get to school. It took about an hour and a half.
The day was gray and drizzly–the kind of day that folks around here love to complain about. I love being out in cool, damp weather. I also love what it does for my garden and all the plants around. So we put on rain coats and set out for school.
Because of the rain the night before, there were significant puddles on the sidewalk, especially at the curbs. Before this trip, my daughter usually kept her feet on or close to the ground when using her walking bike. It was really a walking bike rather than a glider. The puddles, however, created a fun reason to pick the feet up, and as the walk went on, she became more and more comfortable gliding and going fast. In fact, I added a bit of extra time figuring she would take breaks or some other issue might happen. We did the normally 30 minute walk in about 20 with me jogging to keep up. The walking bike became a running bike!
I love how confident she became even in this one journey; her balance improves, and she is getting ready for a pedal bike. She already has declared that her pedal bike must have a basket for carrying things.
My daughter has a big head; well, it’s bigger than it was last year. Her bike helmet no longer fits. Her recent trip to the doctor for her annual checkup came away all good except getting a little more exercise into the routine. She does love running around and playing at the playground, but we can certainly have her walk and bike when we are going places rather than hitching a ride in the stroller. We have a nice walker/glider bike that she likes using, so this is easy. I hope to have her gliding along on her way to school, a half hour walk for me with the stroller. But her head is too big for her old helmet.
Today while my wife was busy, I took the kids to a bike store. I assumed it would be open by 11:00, but found that it would be closed for another hour when I showed up. We killed the time in a neat playground that we had not visited before. I have passed it in the summer, and there is a fabulous water section. I had forgotten to have my daughter pee before we left, so we hurried from there to a nearby grocery store, hit the bathroom, and made it to the bike store at the crack of noon.
There are two stores within a block of each other. One carries adult bikes and gear, and the other is dedicated to children’s bikes and oddities like tandem bikes. I got a new saddle for my bike at the first, and then we headed over to the kids’ store to check out our options.
I knew ahead of time that there would be the standard gendered options and that we would have to work around the pink ones. Sure enough, my daughter pointed them out, and I let her know that they were not an option. From the remaining ones which included white, black, blue, green, and red/orange, she chose the last one. I don’t know what it was that attracted her to this design, but it is certainly visible and thus a plus for safety. We also got some bike gloves that fit her. I dread the first real tumble from the bike, but the gloves may really help in that situation. She loves them and wore them, in the car, on the ride home.
This afternoon, my wife took her on a long ride. Hopefully we can keep pace with our growing daughter for some time yet.
This evening, I pumped up the tires on my full-sized bike. Instead of taking the folding bike to the T stop and then along the Esplanade, I will attempt to commute the whole way by bike tomorrow. Google maps biking directions, after much tweaking, shows a route of 6 miles with an estimated 37 minute time.
Now I have to pack my bags and think through what to wear, what to bring, etc. Having the child seat on the back of my bike makes packing a bit easier. I find I am much more relaxed if I have done all my thinking the night before starting a new routine, especially if that routine is a new way to commute to work.
This new commute is part of my ongoing effort to get and stay fit, to model fitness for my children, and to model alternative transportation. If I don’t do it, reading books or talking about it really doesn’t mean a thing.
Filed under health, travel
Last year, I think, I found out about CitySmart Cambridge. This organization promotes alternatives to auto transportation such as walking, biking, and public transportation. I got various packages of materials from them as well as a free bike helmet for my daughter.
Recently, I have been doing quite a bit of cleaning out in my office. I came across a wad of materials from CitySmart. My daughter is of an age to begin to appreciate them. I am excited to share a Getting Around Cambridge Map with an associated measurement tool. We can mark where our home is and start exploring further and further out making marks where things are like friends’ houses and playgrounds. I know she will be excited to see where her school is.
When I was in high school, I covered the walls of my room with maps from National Geographic. I have always loved maps. I am glad of this chance find during my cleaning and am very excited to start sharing the wonderful world of maps with my daughter.