My husband had the afternoon off, so we decided to include him in our Summer Bucket List fun for the first time ever. A family bike ride seemed to be the best option. After all, we desperately needed dad to fill all those tires and make sure everything was in working order.
Our two adult bikes were hanging from the garage rafters. We hadn’t ridden them in two, maybe three years. They were dusty, dirty, and the tires were completely deflated. So Seth broke out the pump and filled everyone’s tires while I managed other prep needs.
Two children put on their helmets without question. One child did NOT, I repeat, did NOT want to wear his helmet. “Dumb.” “Babyish.” “This looks so stupid,” he said. “Nobody my age wears a helmet.” We persisted that we were going on a very long bike ride and that he needed to wear that helmet. Finally, after much persuasion, he agreed and we were on our way.
As we biked out of our driveway, I realized it had been an incredibly LONG time since we’d gone on a family bike ride. I honestly couldn’t remember when the last family ride would have been. As we greeted a neighbor on our way out of the neighborhood, I also realized that it’s incredibly RARE to see families go on bike rides together anymore. Growing up, my family went on bike rides all the time. Back in the 80s, it was fairly routine to see families on casual evening bike rides around town. But today? Not so common at all.
By the time we got all the way out of the neighborhood, I was already a bit winded. Seth reminded me that I should be the most physically prepared for this bike ride since I work out so faithfully. But I haven’t ridden a bike for any long distance in years, so truth is, it wasn’t that easy for me. Why is it that biking as an adult is so much more physically taxing than it was when you were a kid?
We rode those bikes 3.5 miles anyway, all the way to our destination. Up hills. Down hills. Through neighborhoods. Along the highway for a bit. Across the railroad tracks. Then finally through a long bike path.
We drove without stopping, although when we arrived at our destination – a large park – we were exhausted. Thank goodness for the bottles of water I hauled in my backpack.
After a few minutes of rest, we decided we’d go down to the lake where there’s a public swimming area. Suddenly, the kids had a burst of energy. “Let’s go swimming!” Ummm….okay? They, of course, didn’t have swimsuits along, so they agreed to go in their clothes. Not exactly mom’s ideal scenario, but it worked. Two kids in the water with soaking wet clothes. One playing on the sandy, wet shore. No swimsuits for mom or dad. No towels. And no change of clothes for the kids. But again, it worked! Perhaps I need to get out of my box more often.
The fun eventually wore off and the kids came in from the water. We reminded them they’d have to ride all the way back (another 3.5 miles, mind you) with sopping wet clothes, that they might get chafed skin with all the rubbing that was about to happen. But they didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they barely complained about those wet clothes. Wet clothing wasn’t an issue at all. I was shocked.
So we made our way back, all 3.5 miles. Up hills. Down hills. Through the bike path. Across the railroad tracks. And along the highway. Maisie, our youngest, exclaimed “woo hoo” from her baby bike trailer the whole way long. (Yes, that was my favorite part of the adventure.)
The kids wanted to stop for ice cream. Dad thought it would be better to stop for another round of hydration. So I tended the bikes, and Seth and the kids went into a gas station for drinks. We refueled as customers pumped gas. Then we made our way back home.
Elsa LOVED it. Said she’d do this everyday.
Cooper not so much.
Maisie. “Woo hoo!”
Seth and I? A little exhausted.
Family bike ride? An overall success.
Family Bike Ride
Total Cost: $9.00 for beverages at the end of the ride
Mom Lesson: Step out of the box and have a little fun.
Kid Lesson: Don’t underestimate kids’ ability to go with the flow.
This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.