Last night I went on a short bike ride with my youngest daughter, to deliver a birthday invitation, to one of her friends in the neighborhood. Every spring, I get a hankering to get on my bike, but only until it gets hot and humid in the summer…… So, a very small window.
I never have really liked to bike, but after we started letting all these kids move in, I felt like I should be a good mother and teach them bike safety;). We live on a busy road, with no sidewalks, so I like to take them for rides in the neighborhood behind us. They have fairly quiet streets, and a circle with a GAZEEBO, which they all find quite fascinating.
I have taught them all to stay to the right side of the road, and to look both ways before crossing. THATS IT! That's the end of the safety tips I've provided. I realize now, that I am a horrible person to teach them safety tips.
First of all, I'm not a true believer in safety helmets. Right now is when many of you out there GASP! I did buy them one or two, in their beginning biking days, and even made them wear them a couple times, but now all that's left of them is the hard styrofoam and chin buckle. Funny, but now they lecture me about the importance of wearing bike helmets, and I have actually seen them wearing the styrofoam hats, that are way to small for their heads, and I'm pretty certain….EXPIRED.
Last year I decided to load up our bikes and take them to the Monon Trail, which is a running/biking trail that runs through much of Indianapolis. There are many folk, in the area we drove to, that I consider to be Yuppies, and I knew they would all have bike helmets, and would know all the biking etiquette. So on our drive up there, I was giving the kids tips on what to do while riding on the trail.
I told them that people would look at us funny, because we were the only ones without helmets, and that I may even get a few dirty looks. Again, I told them to stay to the right, and if they needed to pass a runner, the proper thing to do is yell LEFT!
It was as if they had been born with this etiquette! They weren't even that fast, but they were yelling left, so many times, that it seemed like they were singing in a round. Then, I saw them doing all the proper hand gestures, for going straight, turning left or right, stopping, then maybe the get off my tail sign?…. Really, who am I kidding, I don't know what any of those signs are, neither do they, and who really does??? But they tried, because they refused to look second rate!:). And that's where I take the credit for teaching them well.
All of my kids have fallen off their bikes before, but I've just been lucky enough that none of them have busted their head. One of my sons did break an arm on his bike, but a helmet wouldn't have helped, in this case:). My favorite story while riding bikes with them, is when my youngest son rode ahead of all us. It had never occurred to me to tell him that there was a bush growing into the sidewalk in front of him, because he DOES have intact vision. But I about peed myself, and I may actually have, when he noticed a friend across the street and started waving, like a dork, and yelling “HI BRYCE”, right before he did a face plant into that bush! He wasn't hurt, but very embarrassed. I like to think that while I didn't teach him any lessons, NATURE did.
Anyway, a couple years ago, I asked for a new, old lady bike, for Chrismas. I had been riding an old ten speed that was fairly descent, but the back brake was always on a little, and so I had to push extra hard to get it to go. I just needed a change….. Well my wish came true, I got it. A baby blue, Schwinn Legacy, clad with a basket, bell, and a new helmet, that I've never worn.
Yesterday, for the first time this season, I headed out on the Legacy, with my daughter, Chloe, in tow. My back tire was almost flat, but if I leaned forward enough, it was just fine. We rode together, me directing safety orders, and her doing fake bicyclist signs. We made a full lap, and on the way home we drove by the school playground, where some teenage boys were playing basketball.
I was just taking in all the spring sounds and sights, when I heard a tune, that I thought surely couldn't be true. Could that be the Wizard of oz tune, that played behind the witch, when she took Toto, and rode away with him in her basket?. NO… YES it was… Dadadadada da dada dada da…. Those boys were making fun of me!!! I always thought I was a cool, older lady, one that teenagers could resonate with.
Well not anymore! But I was okay with that, I actually laughed out loud. I don't know when it happened, but I'm not young and hip anymore. I have decided that, from here on out, I'm going to feel “just fine” about riding my old lady bike, despite the laughter and ridicule from teenage boys:). How else will I carry my water, iPod, phone, sweatband, my brothers dog, and a knee brace???… I guess the jokes on them;).