This Family Biking Thing
Today was a day full of fun and a lot of bicycling activity. For starters, today was the day of the Minnesota Iron Man. Owen and I had been talking about riding the 30 mile route but decided mid-week that we would opt out this year. Too much going on and we didn't feel ready - then add in a flat tire, rain, and a sore butt (Owen's - he's still searching for the ideal bike saddle) and we were very okay with our no-go decision.
Still, we did feel like we were missing out on something this morning when I read tweets from some of the 30 Days of Biking guys who were doing the 100 mile ride. Yes, I tweet now, or do Twitter now. Or something. I'm not really sure what it is that I'm doing with Twitter but it appears that I am posting my progress on #30daysofbiking for the 30 Days of Biking Challenge. Oh yes - update - I've biked 23 days in a row. Only seven to go...
So what does a biking family do when no one from said family is riding the Iron Man? Stand in the rain and cheer for the cyclists as they bike past. Yep. We live about 20 miles from the end of the 60 and 100 mile route so after church we drove to a good spot, got out of the car with our umbrella and jumped up and down, waved and yelled at a bunch of wet, tired-looking riders who pedaled on by. Most of the riders waved back. Almost everyone smiled. Many thanked us for cheering them on. We had fun and I hope we made the ride a little more fun for the riders. I do think I embarrassed my kids and husband a bit with my Iron Man/Woman cheering enthusiasm - but I think they'll get over it.
Rose, by the way, says she's going to do a century ride one day. That's a hundred miles of pedaling. She's not yet eleven years old and though she's not planning to do a century ride in the next year or two I think it's cool that she's excited enough about biking to have such a goal. Owen used to do century rides and he's talking about doing them again - that's probably part of why Rose is interested, she likes to do stuff that Owen likes to do. I've actually been considering a century ride, too. Pretty crazy for a woman who didn't like riding bikes nine months ago and does not think of myself as athletic.
Back to the present - We've been on a mission to find my son, Ryan, a bike. Last week we went to Valley Bike and Ski's bike swap and sale in search of new-to-us bikes for Rose and Ryan and for a trail-a-bike for Ryan so we can go on some longer family rides. We found a great used trail-a-bike right away.
Owen on his Specialized hybrid pulling Ryan on the trail-a-bike
We told the kids the amount we were willing to spend on bikes for them but couldn't find used bikes that fit our specs. Rose decided she was willing to chip in her allowance for the next 6 months or so in order to buy a new bike. Though Rose had her eyes on a Giant Boulder, she ended up buying a 2009 Marin Pioneer Trail 26" mountain bike. She rode five miles on the bike the very first time out and has gone on several rides since.
Rose with her new Marin Pioneer Trail
But Ryan's bike was harder to find. He wanted a bike with gears. Most of the used bikes still for sale were single speed bikes. He had his eyes on a new Giant MTX 125 in the store but the purchase price was over $275.00 - quite a bit of money for an almost eight year old who would grow out of the bike quickly. We decided to try craigslist. We found a Giant MTX but it was sold. We tried more searches but hit dead ends. We then found a bike that seemed worth checking and drove forever to see it only to discover that even though it had 20" wheels the bike was way too big for Ryan. We looked at another bike yesterday and it was also too big. Finally today I found a Trek MT60, a bike with 20" wheels and six speeds meant for kids who are Ryan's size. We went to see the bike and it was a perfect fit and decided to buy it. Yay! Ryan finally had his new bike! But the story gets better - the family selling the bike told us that they were donating all of the money from the sale to Kids Against Hunger. What a nice thing to do!
Ryan with his new-to-him Trek MT60
So tonight we all headed out on our bikes for a four mile ride around the neighborhood. We talked while we rode, we went up hills slowly and down really fast. Rose talked about going out on some bike trails with the family, asked if she could wear her new bike jersey to school (it says "Biker Chick" on the front, has a picture of a fluffy yellow chickie on the front - she found it at Valley while Owen was getting his flat repaired today). Owen and I talked about fun stuff - about the kids, about how excited we are to ride the Iron Man next year, about how glad we are to do something together as a family.
At one point tonight Ryan was riding next to me and he looked over at me and said, "We're on a Family Bike Ride!" I can see him right now, his big smile with a gap on top where he's waiting for a permanent tooth to come in, his dark, bright eyes, his little legs pedaling furiously. My kid. My little boy on his new almost-a-big-boy bike. And Rose, smiling away on her grown-up bike with her cool biking jersey, watching the miles tick by on her bike computer, planning to someday ride a hundred miles in one day. Even Owen is smiling. He does that when he's on his bike. And despite the fact that I've had a tough week, that I'm really tired and have a huge week ahead, I'm smiling too.
Ryan and Rose with their bikes
There's something good going on when the four of us are out in the fresh air smiling and having fun together. I'm glad we're doing this family biking thing. I really am.