Saturday, August 25, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle...

Like most people, I've grown up knowing how to ride a bicycle.  I don't even remember when I learned, that memory is gone, but, as a child, one of my best memories is going on bike rides after dinner with my dad.  We would bike all over.  Through the neighborhood, around the lakes, everywhere.  In the summer, it would be multiple times a week that we would go on a bike ride.  As I got older, my bike was my main form of transportation for 3 seasons out of the year.  It was nothing for me to get on my bike and go across town to visit a friend or to pack a lunch and take off for the day to wherever my bicycle would take me.  I had baskets over my rear wheels and a little dog who used to love to go on bike rides with me.  I'd line the basket with a towel or blanket and Sassy would go for a ride.  The looks we would get cruising around town!  Of course, this was the same dog that used to love to go to the park and go down slides!  She was an awesome dog!

So I digress.  After I went to college and got married, my bike got dusty.  My family grew and my bike sat neglected.  When we bought our first house, I got a new bike with the best intentions to start riding again.  I even got one of those little trailers for Nathan, but I don't think we made it further then around our little neighborhood.  The bike sat in the rafters for years and years until this past summer. 

In the past month, I decided I wanted to start riding again.  Mike had started riding his bike again, we had just bought Nate a new bike (he had outgrown his) and Rachael was learning how to ride hers.  It was time.  Down came the bike and we looked it over.  After hanging in the rafters for more years than I care to remember, we realized that it needed some TLC and off it went to Erik's Bike Shop.  It cost nearly as much as the bicycle to get it ready to ride, but it was ready.  Then, I realized I needed a helmet.  I suppose if we require our children to wear a helmet, I needed one too, right?  Bought a stylin' helmet, got a rack for the vehicles, and got the old hitches (that were rusted in!) out of the receivers. (Ask Nate about his THOR hammer!)  Nathan, the great big brother that he is, took it upon himself to get his sister riding without her training wheels and did a fantastic job.  We didn't realize how good she was until we went for our first ride together.

This past Wednesday was the day.  Nate didn't go, but we packed up Rachael's bike into the back (it's too small for the rack) and off we went.  Not knowing how well she was able to ride her bike, we decided we had better go on a path that was less traveled and wouldn't result in her careening into a body of water.  Mike decided that Mayowood was the bike path we were going to try first and off we went.  Rachael did fantastic.  She was able to keep up, she had great path etiquette, and was enthusiastic.  Her big fear had been going up hills, but she got past it and was having a grand time. 

Until.... until... well, there was a bridge involved and we all know how bridges go up and come down.  She ended up having to walk her bike to the crest of the bridge and as we were coming back down things were speeding up and all of a sudden I hear her start squealing.  Not a happy squeal, but an, "Oh no!" panicked sort of squeal.  Down the hill and around the corner I see that the trail is about to branch off and I holler to Mike to watch out (he's hearing her squeal too!) and poor Rachael, can't think fast enough continues to go straight squealing all the way.  I can't help it, I realize she's not going to get hurt (it's tall grass) and start giggling.  It was pretty funny!  She in the grass and topples to the side in the tall grass.  I have pictures, not of the actual careening into the grass, but the aftermath:

 But my little trooper got up and started going again.  She wasn't going to let some tall grass get in her way!  BTW, that unicorn helmet?  Her pride and joy!  It cracks me up every time I see it because it's so goofy looking.  She loves it, though, and her 5-year-old friends are all just a wee bit jealous of it!  Gotta love 5-year-olds!

The next day my legs hurt so bad!  I had muscles aching that I didn't realize were there!  Did I let that stop me?  Nope!  Mike and I went on a date last night.  Nathan encouraged it.  I guess I was a little crabby yesterday.  Oops!  We went out for dinner and went on a bike ride.  We were able to go quite a bit faster and further without Little Miss along and it was a blast.  We rode almost 6 miles and I'm realizing that I've missed this!  I've missed getting on my bike and feeling the wind on my face.  We're planning on going to Winona tomorrow after church to take Ty a few things he needs and we're taking the bikes along.  It's going to be fun to discover all the paths around SE Minnesota! 

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