Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for info and links to more Slicing!
It’s a long story, why everyone needed a bike at the same time –Why we ended up at the store even after other, more sustainable, cheaper options were suggested. But that’s where we were. All the other shoppers looked at me like I was crazy – buying 4 bikes at once. I wanted to explain to each evil eye: “My bike was stolen 2 years ago! My daughter’s bike is too small and broken! My 8 year old has been riding my hand me down bike for 2 years! It has no gears! My 5 year old tried a goodwill bike last year and it wouldn’t pedal, and the training wheels bent…” But instead, I smiled and laughed at us… the kids riding their bikes to the checkout, me wheeling mine while I shouted after them.
“Be careful! Slow down!”
Even the woman ringing up our purchase seemed mad. I told her that the Assembler had told us my youngest son’s bike was $50, not $80. Even after her manager gave her the go ahead to charge us $49.95, she scoffed at us, annoyed, I guess, that I was getting a better bargain on my smallest bike purchase.
The next day we strapped our bikes on to the van, and headed to a nearby bike path with my sister, Aunt Awesomeness. After a small mishap of using the bike rack incorrectly (Note: don’t strap it to the window!) we were on our way. Aunt Awesomeness kept up with the big kids while I followed E. He was a trooper for 5 whole miles on his training wheels, and this is the true slice I want to remember: My bike ride with E.
I tried not to bump into him when he slowed down, and I tried to limit my yelling of “Be careful!” as much as possible. I tried to teach him how to use his brakes on the downhills, and how to keep pedaling on the uphills. I tried not to scream as he gained speed going down the steep parts, and not to cry when he fell. I told him it was okay to fall, and that he needed to get back on. (I only took a picture of the fall after he was okay. I promise.)
I breathed it in: the beautiful day and his little voice calling to me from his bike:
“This uses energy!”
“Is this exercise?”
“This isn’t motorized so it didn’t use gas.”
“Doesn’t this feel like we are going across the country? And I’m not even thirsty yet!”
….(5 minutes later…) “I need a break. I’m thirsty.”
“Did you see me going down that hill? It’s as fun as LEGOS! Even funner.”