The weather is finally warming up and I was excited to take the boys for a bike ride. This was the first year I’d have attempted such a feat. Last year, Josh struggled with his confidence and Ari bicycled like a maniac. I took them around the block but it was a terribly stressful experience.
“Ari! Stop!” I screamed. “Stop!” But he just kept riding way up ahead of me while I tried to help Josh balance enough to get going.
“I can’t do it, Mama!” he’d whine. “I’m not going any further.”
I was stuck a ways from home with one kid ahead and one trailing behind, stomping his feet along the way. I never thought I’d take them again.
But this year, I was feeling more optimistic. Both boys are riding well now and I finally got the spare bike from my parents garage. I’d been cooped at home all week while Ari suffered from scarlet fever, and now that he’d recovered and we woke up to a bright day in every sense of the word, I was eager to get them outside.
“We don’t want to go for a bike ride,” they both whined.
“Well, we’re going so get your helmets on.”
I tried to explain how exciting it would be to bike. How when they’re older they’ll be biking to friends houses and how if they learn to listen to the rules of the road we can bike for ice cream this summer. I thought it would be liberating for them. I thought it would be exciting for them to feel the wind in their faces, the sun on their backs. I was excited for them to love it, for us to be able to go on trails together, to become a biking family. Grudgingly, they agreed to come with me for a ride. Since Josh wanted to learn to play chess, we biked to my boyfriend’s house with the chess set in my backpack.
“Boys, stay in front of me and when I say stop we stop,” I instructed. This time, they listened. “Stay in the centre of the sidewalk and watch out for other people,” I told them. Josh fell off his bike when a TTC bus pulled up next to him and honked. (Why would anyone scare a kid like that?) But after I pulled him out of the bushes, we continued on. We made it to our chess lesson, then biked to Aroma for lunch, to the bike store to fill my flat tire, and rode back home. By the time we got home, we had been riding for three hours. It was a glorious day and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time I’m willing to bet they’ll jump on their bikes without complaining first!