So last fall at a silent auction Patrick and I won this ... a bike trailer from WeeHoo! Love it!
So with all Irish Eyes a smilin', we strapped on our protective head gear (some of us looking more fashionable than others) and prepared to head out on the first of many family bike rides of the year.
So this is how we roll....
Andrew road his own bike. After much pleading to ride his own little bike, Sean was stuffed into the seat carrier behind Pat's bike. We hope that soon he will be able to accompany us on the tag-a-long but for now his legs are not long enough. And Sam, the prince that he is, road in the WeeHoo chariot. This schnazzy little ensemble was attached to the back of my bike. So with everyone saddled up and headed out on our excursion.
For starters, it was a beautiful day and none of us needed coats... just light sweatshirts! So off we go. And from the beginning Sam and I brought up the rear. I had my bike gears set on "granny" which meant that I was pedaling about 180 rotations to the rest of the family's 8. I played with the gears a bit but basically there was no coasting for me if I wanted to maintain any sort of forward momentum. So I chalked this up to my daily workout and powered through the marginal inclines that started to make me pant.
A block into our ride we hit the forrest preserve and the diamond dust trails. They are well groomed but soft-wet-diamond dust is no biker's friend. I can see the rest of my family in the distance. Sam is behind me giggling. I hit the trails at a pretty decent speed only to have all my momentum absorbed into the trail. Again I am thinking "work out"... eat my dust Jillian Michaels! At this point I adjust my gears for more power and try to regain my momentum to make it up the looming hill in front of me. Typically this long slow hill is not an issue but when you are towing a 50lbs+ boy on a recumbent bike who is pedaling backwards... well there is no "granny" gear that can save you now. But although I am not a "fitness badass" (...yet), I figure that I am in decent enough shape, I have lots of gears, and I ate my Wheaties this morning (well not really but you know what I mean).
I am literally huffing at this point. We are 2 blocks from our house and I have pedaled over 5,000 rotations (I am pretty sure), my cheeks are hot and flushed and I fear that at any moment we will start rolling backwards. Sam is still giggling. I end up having to bail and walk the bike, with Sam in tow, up over the crest of the soggy hill. At this point I am willing to concede that I was wrong to argue with my doctor that "no, I don't have activity induced asthma... it is just allergies". My eyes are watering, I just hacked up something unmentionable and Sam is now giggling even harder and fake sneezing trying to mimic me.
I can't see Andrew, Pat and Sean any longer... but I can hear Andrew up ahead calling to Pat to wait up... "DAD... WE HAVE A MAN DOWN... MAN DOWN". I am trying to smile through the drool to all our neighbors who were also out on the path enjoying the beautiful evening. I think I scared a few kids...
Now at the top of the hill I re-mount my bike and attempt to catch up with the rest of my family. Note to self: It is literally impossible to start out pedaling in a granny gear with a tag-a-long bike in tow. At this point Sam has learned that it is fun to rock from side to side and his rocking momentum makes it difficult to steer straight (to all my neighbors who are trying to plant grass or flowers along the path... I am sorry). He has also learned that although pedaling forward "helps Mom", pedaling backwards makes Mom grunt and can affect the speed. Lesson learned: pedaling backwards is not only easier... it is more fun!
So we now have emerged from the forrest preserve and now the trail is paved (oh Thank you Lord). Sam is still pedaling backwards. I have caught up to my boys and Patrick, riding along beside us, is trying to coax Sam into pedaling forward. Nope. Backwards is more fun. So I am back in "granny" gear pedaling my heart out just to keep us in a forward motion. There is one final BIG hill and I almost made it to the top... but Sam was really "helping" at this point. Half of me is thrilled that he is at least pedaling and not just resting but the other half of me is ready to get on the lung donor list. I admit defeat and walk up the last few feet. I am slightly embarrassed at my present condition and wondering how many "bad mommy" points I would get from taking a drag from Sam's inhaler. **it's not asthma, it's not asthma, it's not.... gasp. hack. gasp.**
The air is a bit chilled and it burns with every breath. More unmentionables are expelled. I also now realize that Sam has been "working" really hard on something too and there will be a tailwind the rest of the way home. sigh.
Again I catch up with the rest of my family... they smell us coming. Once again Pat tries tries to make pedaling forward look really fun to Sam. Although pedaling back-wards does not halt things altogether, it does seem to add a bit of drag... alas... a better work out for me. I think Jillian Michaels would consider a bike workout that entailed towing a 50 + pound child pedaling backwards uphill the "crazy persons" version of a bike workout.
So home again, home again! I feel like I have an elephant on my chest and I think I am still drooling. Otherwise I feel great. We release Sam and Sean and they both start running in different directions... it is then I realize that my legs have been replaced with wet egg noodles. Patrick cannot understand my distress. Does he not realize that not only did I not coast at all during our excursion but I actually pedaled the equivalent of 60 miles farther than he did? Of course not...LOL. But it was a great first ride with hopefully many more to come!