Monday, July 18, 2011

a sunday family ride

A few weeks ago while out riding on the back of the Xtracycle, F somehow lost his red feather from his bike helmet that had been attached for nearly a year, a remnant of his pirate helmet from last year's Cycling Celebration.

There's a bike helmet under yar pirate hat!

Feather and feisty attitude seem to go together well.

As he was missing it tremendously and reminded of the loss each time we took the bikes out, we promised him that we would purchase a new plume.  

Enjoying a rare morning of not rushing to get somewhere, we suddenly found it after lunch and felt that we now needed to leave the house and enjoy the wonderful sunny day and move our bodies after such a lazy A.M.  We decided to ride to Hamden Plaza, some six miles north of us, where we could hit the craft store and find a new feather.  

In the past, it never would have occurred to us that we could take this trip by bike, not just because of the distance, but because the Hamden Plaza sits on an incredibly busy road with multiple lanes.  However, the more we spend time out on our bikes, the more we realize what we can do by bike.  

Most excitingly, both S and C decided to ride themselves which was made possible because our route took us on the Farmington Canal Trail for much of the trip.  The boys had to ride downtown to get to the Trail which is far more do-able with the roads quieter on a Sunday than on a regular weekday.  While we asked them if they wanted to ride directly on the street, flanked in front and back by P and me (riding the Xtracycle with F), they both decided they were not yet comfortable doing so.  Instead, P and I rode on the street, parallel to the boys on the sidewalk, giving directions and making sure no cars making  right turns would hit the boys as they crossed the street from one sidewalk to the next, a reason that make sidewalk cycling dangerous.  This process, while it can get us to where we need to go, takes a looonnng time and constant communication and highlights why we are not yet at the place where the boys can ride regularly for transportation (as opposed to for pure recreation).  

Once we hit the Canal Trail, we all felt much more freedom to enjoy the ride. Yes, there are plenty of places the trail crosses the street where you must stop and look out for cars before crossing, but once we rode into Hamden, the Trail opens up and the boys could pedal off in front of us without continuous direction, outside of the intermittent shouts of "Hey, wait for us!" as they sped along happily. 

When we reached the part of the trail that sits behind the Marketplace at Hamden, we exited the trail and walked our bikes through the back parking lot and around to Modell's to return some ill-fitting sweatpants.  We had a moment of pause when we realized that we had nowhere to park and lock our bikes outside of this sports store,  but these shopping plazas are absolutely set up for drivers and not cyclists.  We then walked our bikes through the huge parking lot and reached the sidewalk where we could push the pedestrian crosswalk light, the only way it would be possible for us to cross Dixwell Avenue.  After our quick feather-getting errand was completed, we slipped around the corner to enjoy a respite of Ashley's Ice Cream, took our time getting back through the parking lots and across the busy avenue to the Canal Trail.  

Some time later, we rode up our driveway, quite pleased with ourselves for making the 12-mile trip, leaving the car parked at home, and adding another thing to our list of just what we are able to do by bike.


Andrea said...

Awesome...but my but hurts just thinking about 12 miles! Sounds like someone needs to link the bike infrastructure to the businesses, though.

Bike Locks said...

In this blog kids wear the nice helmet. Helmet is safe for everyone.