Friday, May 8, 2009

But You'd Look Sweet Upon the Seat

This was going to be me.
Sorry, no bicycles built for two around here.

Our adventure Du jour yesterday, apart from poor Nana being sick, (Ask me about my awesome "one-half personal day" Thursday at school! Come in, eat at crazy-good teacher appreciation buffet, find out she's sick, teach no classes, home by 10:00 AM, go to Bounce U instead!) was the bike rides we took. It was finally sunny, we were going outside, darn it.

So while we're trying in vain to coax Maddie into trying to put her feet on the pedals of her trike instead of pushing along with her feet, it occurs to us that she might get it if she saw someone else doing it. So Bob dug out and dusted off his bike, one with all quality construction one would come to expect from something on sale at K-Mart for 40% off. He walked it down to the Getty station to fill the tires, and rode around the block to get home. The chain only slipped off once, grinding some metal and giving him a nice metal splinter when he tried to fix it.

I've been "getting in shape" (what? 'Pear' is a shape!) and love the Exercycle like it's my own - actually Bob's mom's. I have also had fantasies where our little family rides down the boardwalk of OCNJ on one of those clear, breezy shore mornings. Maddie in a toddler seat loving the view and chattering about everything she sees. Stopping at George's for breakfast, popping into the shops that are open, riding from one end to the other. Yes, I mean us. Stop laughing. Bob can ride! I used to ride my bike daily! Back when I was 11, that is. So I've been thinking I wanted to start 'real' biking again.

Bob lowered the seat of his bike for me and my unnaturally short legs, and let me try it. What's the big deal? I haven't ridden a non-stationary bike since early high school, so we're talking 12 years at least. But you know what they say! "It's like riding a bike, you never forget how!" Whoever "they" are...I ask you, please: "Get a new simile!" I did NOT remember how to ride a bike. Or even get on a bike safely, for that matter. After 5 minutes of positioning myself so that I might have a prayer of balance when my butt hit the seat, I finally stood on the curb with the bike in the street and threw my leg over the (man's bike) bar. I did ride down the street and back a few times. Very wobbly, terrified of cars and bumps and sticks in the road, and wondering where the heck the rear view mirrors were.

When I returned to the driveway I told Bob I wanted to buy my own bike, and shared with him my vision of riding happily and healthily down the boards this summer. Ever practical, my husband poked a few annoying but necessary holes in my plan.
  • I'm not particularly comfortable riding in crowds (I'm not comfortable riding in an empty street right now, but practice makes passable).
  • Who's bike would Maddie be on? Answer from both us: "Yours." I'm not comfortable enough riding a bike to have her on the back. What if I fall or crash? Not on my bike! Same with Bob. And those trailer things are so expensive...and she would never consent to staying in one when all she could see would be wheels and ankles. She was begging to please get up on Daddy's bike herself at this point.
  • Bikes are only allowed on the boardwalk in the morning. Are we going to stay overnight somewhere so we can hit the boards early? Um...maybe? What about Max? And even the crummy little rooms cost a fortune down there. Um, no.
  • Are we going to get up in the middle of the night, get everybody ready for a day at the shore, with beach and bike stuff crammed in the car, and drive down early enough that we'd have a few hours on the boards before bikes are banned? Yes, we could. But seriously, would we ever actually do that? Well, there would be no traffic on the expressway..
Shoot. Down there we might rent a bike for me with a trailer, or maybe if Bob feels comfortable enough with the toddler seat concept we could try that. And maybe I'll buy a bike, but what's the point of us both having bikes if we can't ride them together, with Maddie along? I don't see her in any hurry to win the Tour de France, she's decided pedaling is for saps. So, toddler seat? *paranoid shudder* I know it's not a big deal, people do it all the time. The children wear helmets and are very happy sitting behind their fit, outdoorsy parents who have impeccable coordination and balance. Yeah...have you met our family?

Still, it's a goal. Just like world peace.

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