Friday, 6 November 2015

If My Kid Can

JahJ has been riding his bicycle on most of our commuting trips for about six months now. It's been an awkward and unexpected change from carrying him on my cargo bike since he makes up most of my bragging weight. I was getting used to the oohs, ahhs and congratulatory comments about carrying 2-3 big kids, their stuff and groceries. I still get noticed for doing something out of the mainstream ordinary, but it's being somewhat overshadowed by my kid's bike-commuting feats.

On Wednesday, I didn't have to work during the day and we were experiencing a perfect autumnal day for biking: not too cold, not too hot, not windy and no chance of rain. Instead of taking an hour or so using transit and walking to go to the "fun gymnastics" in Langford, I convinced JahJ to make the journey by bicycle. I figured it would take about the same amount of travel time, even with his pedaling speed. We layered up our clothes, packed some snacks and water bottles and set out for our 13.5-kilometer ride. I hadn't biked to Langford in a year because of a mental block: the route was too treacherous and unpleasant. If you look up routes to get to this part of our island, you'll be unimpressed by my definition of treacherous, especially since the newly paved E&N Trail keeps me off the main roads most of the time. At any rate, I knew that if my kid can bike there, so can I.

 A kilometer into our journey, I was a little sweaty and wanted to remove my fleece. The kids were comfortable, so I didn't interrupt our cadence. By km 5 Nae-J wanted to know if we'd arrived. Since we don't usually commute more than four kilometers, I told her we were a long ways off yet. The hill climb I was dreading the most, the impossible-to-top-don't-ask-me-life-questions-now Wale Rd was just ahead of us. "I'll walk a bit of this one", JahJ affirmed. I thought this was a solid plan, and knew that if my kid can, so can I. Slowly we crept up the incline and when we'd reached the top, I huffed and puffed the proudest thumbs up of the journey. "One thumb up to you too, Mom!" he beamed. I too was encouraged. We flew down the last hill to our destination, hurriedly threw our coats into the panniers and ran inside since we were five minutes late.

After a seemingly quick hour, the free play at the gym was over. We went to get our stuff and powered up on the juiciest grapes, the juiciest apples, the best hard-boiled eggs and the best-tasting water we'd ever had. JahJ agonized over the long ride home ahead of us. The skies had cleared and the sun was shining brighter but without the cloud cover, we were a little bit chilly. I knew that once our hearts started pumping a little faster, we would be warm enough to enjoy our ride home. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I had to wrap Nae-J up with a fleece blanket and JahJ accepted my scarf, and homemade wool cuffs. He was still cold. I reminded him that if we kept moving, we would get home faster. But his arms and legs were still cold. We stopped at a grocery store to warm up. After the 23-minute break which included a chocolate-chip muffin and a banana as fuel-up, we hit the road again, hurrying to the hot chocolate at the end of the travel.

I can't say that I'd be up for doing this trek daily, but I am thankful that because my kid can bike to the furthest gymnastics place from our home, I can too. It was a trip filled with very few complaints on my part and the mental block of going to Langford is getting smaller. The kids will have to pack more layers to wear to ensure their comfort, particularly if the sun is going to be unpredictably sunshine-y. Since I've got one less passenger to carry, I have more room to pack their balaclavas, mitts, rain/wind breaking gear and boots. I don't want JahJ to have a reason to get back on my bike any time soon!


  1. So cool! What a rockstar. Both of you, actually. :)

  2. Oh this is great! It's nice that the kids are enjoying cycling and the outdoors! I do hope this continues through the years. :)