Monday, April 20, 2009

two wheeling

Spring signals many things...growing grass, cooking out, lots more time outside and bike riding. I loved bike riding when I was a kid. There were always plenty of bikes laying around and myself and my siblings would jump on and spend hours each day riding our bikes. At first when we were really little we'd play gas station. My parents have a circular driveway with both a back and front driveway out to two different streets. One of us would be the gas station attendant and sit on the back porch awaiting customers while the rest would zip around the circle and down the back drive stopping each go round to gas up. It sounds really boring to me now but we played this for hours on end so apparently it wasn't as boring as it sounds. At about seven or eight we started venturing beyond the confines of our driveway. We'd go out the back driveway take a right and ride down and around the block to the front driveway. Along the way we'd run into other neighborhood kids and before too long a whole pack of us would making the round trip trek. Eventually we got older and bolder and ride all over town. I carried this love of bike riding into my adulthood. In college I got a bike as a birthday gift and I rode it to pieces. I discovered the Rails to Trails bike paths after college and whiled away many a sunny spring afternoon riding as far as I could.

Sadly it's been years since I've gotten on a bike. I really miss riding and after having kids daydreamed about teaching them to ride and going for bike rides on the trails through the nearby forest. In my daydreams, we'd all ride along together laughing, calling to each other to race and joking with each other. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that this may never come to pass. All three of my kids have bikes. We bought them those miniature little two wheelers and, eventually the next few sizes up, and drag them out each spring awaiting the day when we can FINALLY take the training wheels off and watch them pedal away into the distance.

It still hasn't happened. Not for my eight year old, or my six year old and I'm holding out no hope for my three year old. I actually have grown to dread when they ask if we can bike ride. It's so exhausting. None of them can get themselves going so I have to push each to start. In Katie's case, I have to continue pushing her around and around and around the bike path that circles our local playground. My back is aching and my shoulders are cramped and my hands are sore when I collapse onto the ground and tell her it's time for a break. And the big kids? They pedal so S-L-O-W-L-Y!!! Teresa is slightly faster than Sam...only slightly. Sam is going so slow I honestly can't tell if he's moving. Tiny toddlers on their little toddler bikes are lapping him. The path looks flat and level but in one corner it must be slightly inclined and they are moving so slowly they grind to a stop at the slight incline. And there they will wait till I come around pushing Katie to give them a push to get going again. All the while I am cursing the bike manufacturers for putting pedal brakes on the miniature little bike Katie is riding. She doesn't pedal at all, why should she when I'll do all the work? Except every two feet she'll push the pedals backwards and slam on the brakes. So our progress goes something like this...step, step, step...STOP!...step, step, step, step...STOP! and I grit my teeth so I don't let loose with the curses circling round my brain because who the hell puts pedal brakes on a toddler bike!!!!??????

I endure these torturous bikeriding sessions because deep down inside those daydreams refuse to die a quiet death. I cling to the hope that the next push to get started or the next circuit around the playground will be the one that starts us down that forest path. Ah well. A girl can dream...can't she.


girlsmom said...

I can sbsolutely, totally relate to the brakes. So maddening to have Lochlyn jam on the brakes every 4 feet!

Dori said...

I was not a big bike rider as a kids since I grew up in the city on a very steep hill, in a neighborhood surrounded buy even steeper hills. My DH however grew up in the DC burbs and was an avid rider as a kid, and its been his dream to bike ride with the kids.

M just learned to ride without training wheels last year, but refuses to ride on concrete (it's too hard!) and O is no where near ready. E however is a total dare devil and I see him surpassing his siblings in bike riding ability very soon.