Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Silly Races on Kids' Bikes

Bikes are corralled outside the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. We partake of Local Motion volunteer appreciation festivities : art show, clay-fired cooked pizza, live music, and thankfully, hot drinks on this blustery raw day. It's too cold and wild to expect our children to ride nearly 20 miles round-trip to the event.

The wind is, literally, howling off the lake, but a hilariously fun event is unfolding: adults and children riding tiny bikes around a short course - pump track style.

Before the final race I squat on a bike, realize I can't possibly turn the cranks while seated. I stand, wobble, then get the gist of riding, somewhat. I round each obstacle, fumble over wooden boards, weave through cones, and barely manage to get back to the start. I drop the bike and stretch. My thighs hurt.

And yet, I discovered our youngest boy took to it like ducks to water. No surprise there. He's still riding to school, much to my dismay, even on snowy and drizzly mornings.

"I'm going to ride through the winter," he said.

I'm about to say "no way", fearing slippery roads. My husband once broke his hip, wheels whipped out, falling on black ice. Our son has options. He can walk or hop on a convenient bus.

"Riding's faster, Mom. Quicker than the bus."

I can't argue with his reasoning. Riding bikes gives us independence and versatility. When two wheels are transportation, you can do almost anything. This son gets it.

I was telling our neighbor about how our boy doesn't feel the cold. Loves to ride. Loves snow. Which led to a conversation about fat bikes and winter riding. Pretty soon the neighbor comes knocking on our door with studded tires in hand. They are holdovers from before he got his own "fattie."

"Here, let [my son] try then out. Borrow them for a while."

So, guess who's wishing for snow to accumulate? As for me, I'll take a deep breath. And keep my anxiety and fears to myself. Let the little guy blossom, all on his own.

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