After a few days of oppressive heat around these parts, we awoke to a grey day in the 60's. Going hand-in-hand with our obsession with biking has been our compulsive checking of weather.com. Given that we are not a car-free family, rather a car-lite one, there are days that the weather forecasts cause us to leave the bikes at home and take the car.
This morning, knowing that we had an extremely busy schedule and the weather looking quite iffy with predicted rain showers at various times of the day, P and I had a lengthy discussion about our mode of transport. Bikes? Car? We kept going back and forth, checking and re-checking the weather. He made the first decision: he would head off to the morning music lessons with C and F and break-out the rain cover for the bakfiets which we hadn't used in many months. I worried that there wouldn't be room in the box for the two ever-growing boys and their violins, but they were all game so off they rode.
S and I had our morning own task-- buy the birthday present needed for a 2:00 p.m. party. Our favorite local toy store is five + miles away in a town just north of us. The skies were growing darker and it seemed like it would be easy to hop in the car, buy the gift, and get home. But S really thought we should go by bike. "So what if we get wet!" he exclaimed. We grabbed sweatshirts and hopped on the Xtracycle.
It was good fun pedaling along with just S on the snapdeck. He chatted amiably, making observations and jokes. At some point, we rode around an intersection closed to cars thanks to the unending construction that seems to go on around here thanks to the university. We had to go up on a sidewalk, through a narrow path, and past a temporary fence. Coming down off the curb, I somehow caught my tire strangely and squeezed the wrong brake. Suddenly I felt the bike go out from under me and in that moment, I knew I was going to dump both us-- the first time I had wiped out on one of our cargo bikes with a kid passenger.
I felt a flash of fear as we went down but quickly, S and I seemingly-simultaneously yelled, "Are you alright?" Thankfully, we both were. Assessing the damage, we found a few scrapes, one slightly sore wrist, and a small, but lovely, hip bruise. However the back wheel on the bike was rubbing and making a strange sound. Thinking that I had done something to the back brake in the fall, we lifted the Xtra bags to get a look at the back tire, almost sure that our ride would be over. However, S noticed that it wasn't the brake rubbing, but instead, one of our jerry-rigged* Footsies had slipped and was pushing against the tire. We were able to wiggle it back in place, leaving the tire rotating smoothly, and allowing us to push off again on our way.
[*Since we have the Kickback (double kickstand) that fits in the same tubes designed for the Footsies, we had to figure out a different way to attach our Footsies. Ours are simply tied down with double plastic ties which have held up pretty well.]
We felt pretty good about ourselves when we returned home, having pedaled over 10 miles, picking ourselves up and getting back on the bike after our spill, and scoring one cool gift for a friend. So what did we decide to do next? Why, even with the predicted rain showers, head out again by bike, all five of us, over to the birthday party, and from there to downtown for a quick dinner, and off to the music school again for the boys' spring violin recitals.
And the rain did fall.
But we decided we didn't care. The violins were protected by the box bike's rain cover and two of the boys had clothes to change into for their performances. We got to where we needed to go and the parking was easy.
|The rain cover back in action!|
Stuffed in the box, protected from the rain-- one boy, two violins,
and three hand-built wooden ships made at the birthday party.
|Back at home, after a long day and some rainy rides, the boys' spirits were not negatively affected.|
|So what's the saying? There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. |
I somehow was the only one who wasn't wearing a raincoat.
The garbage bag we adapted after the birthday party did the trick well.
And so I guess that's what caused eight-year-old S to remark this morning as we rode to church, "Just think if we had never found out about cargo bikes, we might have been like a normal family, probably driving everywhere. But we're not normal. We're unique."