Three years ago, when Charis was just a tiny bit of a baby, Abe and I purchased a pull-behind child carrier for a bike. It was a Cannondale, so it was a decent brand, but the metal strap meant to secure it to the actual bike was broken, so the seller only wanted $5 for it. We gladly paid, knowing that Abe works with metal and could easily fix it.
Three years later, he finally got around to doing it, and the repair only took about 10 minutes. He strapped it to his bike, put the kids inside, I hopped on my trusty bike, and we were off! Thus began the new family tradition of bike riding.
The kids didn't know exactly what to think at first. They were intrigued by the straps (and Abe and I were momentarily befuddled--why is safety so confusing?), but not sure they liked being attached to anything this unfamiliar. Judah kept leaning on Charis, which she did not love. But they quickly got over it, and now they're old pros.
We haven't gone for a ride in about a week and a half because the weather conditions haven't been favorable--I mean, who wants to struggle up a hill on a bike in 95 degree weather? Not I. Though, to be honest, hills are much easier for me than Abe, since all I'm hauling is me--Abe is hauling himself AND two children in a pod. On most hills, this makes me look superhuman, or at least like I could win a mountain stage or two of the Tour de France. (On the flip side, when Abe beats me to the top, I look like a weak little girl. My favorite.)
Honestly, I have been surprised by the vast amount of overwhelming hills near our house. It's not like we live in Colorado; we live in the Midwest, land of gently rolling hills and mild inclines. But even a mild incline feels like the Pyrenees, with my physical condition. I would be dead meat if we actually did live in a mountainous area, probably walking my bike more than riding it...
We do all the normal things on our bike rides; we drop off the mail, of course, to save a car trip. We're green like that. (I also use canvas grocery bags, and we compost and recycle.)
(Actually, we're less "green" and more "cheap", unwilling to pay for trash service, unwilling to pay for more gas than we need, gunning for the 5-cent-per-bag credit at the store for bringing reusable bags...but hey, I'll pretend we're environmentally aware.)
We go to the park to let the kiddies stretch their legs and climb on the dinosaurs. We actually have several parks within a short bike ride of our house, so we can mix it up a little bit. Admittedly, it's probably pretty boring for the kids to ride in the pod, unable to move, facing backward with nothing to look at but me, so we hope to keep the rides fun--toss in some ice cream here and there, trips to the playground, floating tree bark "boats" down a waterfall--so they won't revolt when we pull out the bikes in the future.
We even discovered a park we didn't know existed: about a mile from our house is a beautiful wildflower park. Of course, it isn't prime wildflower season, especially since we haven't had rain since, oh, May? But all the same, I think you'll agree that there are a lot worse ways you could spend your time than riding down paths that look like this. I look forward to spring and the cool, breezy rides we will take then, passing vibrant palettes of flowers in fresh bloom, breathing air not yet fattened with humidity and smog, stretching our legs after a long, construction-free winter. THAT will be a treat.