I rode my bike to work today towing a 4 yr old on a tag along bike trailer. It’s the first time we’ve gone to that great a distance hooked up like this. I was a little concerned that getting up at 5:45 would be hard on him, but he handled that OK. In fact, if he got up that easily every day I could let him sleep until 6 if we rode our bikes, or 6:30 if we drove. We’ll see if the excitement stays.
It was an interesting experience. We’ve used the tag along thing on short rides to the park but this was a 4.5 mile ride along two roads and one section of bike trail. He handled it fine. There isn’t a lot of traffic at that time, which is nice. I thought we were almost doomed before we started as he dragged out his helmet, but it was disassembled, with no straps. Apparently they were playing with it as it was under his bed (???) and looked like they had used it to protect their heads when they were doing something I don’t really want to think about right now.
I quickly put the straps on hoping I did them right and we rolled off, feeling like an overburdened semi truck. I was riding my mountain bike with road tires (it’s not light), all 260 pounds of me (Ok, Ok, really 258 as of this morning), a messenger bag loaded and strapped over my shoulder with my lunch bag attached and hanging further down. Then there was the all steel trail a bike with a strapping 45 pound 4 year old, who only occasionally likes to pedal and likes to talk while he coasts and Dad struggles up the hills. I wasn’t so sure it would work out well.
So we’re running late from dealing with the helmet and I am pumping hard to make up time, assuming I could actually get the bike above you know, 5 miles an hour. After the first hill I was remembering that the way TO work is mostly uphill (actually up and down 4 hills and then one final mile long uphill to work) while the way home was mostly downhill. (Now I’m really rethinking this idea.) We finally got to a fairly flat area on the bike trail next to a creek (or ‘crick’ as they say in Missouri (or Missourah if you are my mother in law)) and one of his pedals falls off. (Obviously the Chinaman who put this bike together for Target was not well paid.) I was able to get the pedal back on to finger tightness and we were off again. (Are you sick of my parenthesis yet? I don’t think I’ll have a book deal anytime soon.)
We got to work 10 minutes later than I expected but I was able to get upstairs to work only 1 minute late. I’m really lucky that my workplace has gyms with showers. I really needed one this morning, even though it was quite cool.
The ride home was less exciting. Even though I hate these people, I rode on the sidewalk a little because the traffic was heavier, but eventually decided it was stupid and moved over to the street. The cars will just have to deal with me. If someone runs us over and we both die hopefully they will get some serious treatment since they killed a kid. I know no one cares about a biker who gets hit by a car, but maybe the kid aspect will help.
After all this is said and done I’m trying to decide if I want to do it more. For the summer I drop off one child at Summer Care (which is on the road we ride up in the morning) and the other is at preschool at my work. In theory I can ride with both, although the little one would be demoted to the trailer, but getting them both up that early, when they are up late with the late sunsets, and having them in the care of others for between 9 & 10 hours is tough to stomach, even if it is only 30 minutes more than usual. I get off early on Fridays, so I have the option of doing it that day and we could possibly achieve all these things. Less guilt for me as Fridays would be less time in care (although I usually pick the little one up during nap which would be strange for a bike ride when he usually is mostly asleep in the car), more time afterwards that we could go explore if we want, and we would still be able to ride one day a week. When school starts up this Fall I think I’ll be able to ride fairly regularly with the little one as my work schedule will be 30 minutes less each day and it will just be the two of us. Tough to know what to do. Even though the ride to work is short saving money on gas is something to think about. The way oil is going it may make the decision for us.