And it’s pretty much the best thing ever.
For when I hop on its wide berth of a Dutch frame, it’s freedom-inducing and glee-producing and filled with the sights and sounds and smells of the city.
Cancan has a little European seat on the front, which has taken a few rides to get used to since there’s about 12.3 millimeters between the front of my granny seat and his back side, but we’re cruising no less.
We’ve dodged Stupid Drivers (exclamation point, expletive, expletive, exclamation point), and we’ve accepted the smiles of strangers – because who can resist the ba ba ba ba ba babbles coming from a joyful 14-month old who thinks he’s the one steering the machine? And who can help but keep a smile in when the booming base from the neighboring Honda Accord makes the Little Man up front show off his newfound dance skills, as he moves back and forth, up and down, mimicking Daddy’s Michael Jackson moves.
The three of us took our first family bike ride together on Saturday, on one of those rare, perfect San Francisco days; helmets adorning our heads, we pedaled west until we hit Great Highway, which is a four-lane, 45 MPH road that parallels the Pacific Ocean. We felt the sun beating down and we were most pleasantly distracted by the sparkling, perfect Disneyland-blue water; we dodged walkers and runners and the succulents that have overrun the path, but even the very, very small negatives were squelched by the overwhelming positives.
Because when I’m on a bike, I’m somehow magically, mystically transported back to my childhood: I’m once again riding down Menlo and up Riverside, I’m turning left on Dennis and soon I’m jumping all-Mary Katherine Gallagher into the pool at Holiday Swim Club. And when I’m ready for a break, I’m running next door, and I’m swinging higher, higher on the swing at Sunset Park. When I get back home, Sister is holding tight to the loop of a rope in front of her, while my banana seat pulls her on Brother’s plastic skateboard. We turn circles over and over and over again in the parking lot of John Knox Presbyterian Church until Mailman Dan catches us and scolds our dangerous ways.
We won’t do that again. We don’t want the wrath of the mailman.
But we do keep riding – and the freedom-inducing and glee-producing activity that is only found on the wheels of a bicycle repeats itself 10, 20, 30 years later. And now that my Mine, now that my own baby-toddler-man gets to experience it himself, that, for reals, makes me really, really excited.
What about you? Do you still ride bikes, or was it simply a thing of your youth?