Today, The Boy and I took advantage of the beautiful weather, which remained in the 70’s all day, and went for a ride together. The Boy recently acquired a new bike. His old bike had a 16″ wheel, and now he’s riding a 20″. He selected the model himself as we browsed what was available locally, online. While it is not my taste, he really likes it. The most important thing for him was to get a bike with gears. After trying to keep up with the Older Girl, who has a 21-speed bike (and who uses exactly three of her gears), and with me, he was gung-ho to ride something that was capable of powering up our substantial hills.
Buying a 20″ bike with gears is actually more difficult than it sounds. Most 20″ bikes are BMX bikes, which are not generally geared. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, as kids are notoriously hard on their bikes (though to be fair, The Boy is pretty good about taking care with his). Trek makes nice kids’ bikes, but they’re pricey, and gearless. Electra used to make a cool geared kids’ bike, but clearly the demand wasn’t there, as I couldn’t find one anywhere. Finally, we ended up at the much-maligned Performance Cycle near our house, because The Boy liked a monster-green mock-BMX with seven speeds.
In his own words: “I like the bike because it’s a geared bike and it goes faster. It’s fun, of course.”
He typed this mini-rideblog entry himself: I loved the ride that me and mom had today. We rode 5 miles along the seeter river trale. It was really fun.
Right now, he has the seat a bit too low, but he’s still getting comfortable with the rest of the size of the bike. He likes to be able to put a foot down, and to start with his toes on the ground. Given the size (and weight) of the bike, this seems fine for now. Eventually, we’ll work on starting on the pedals and hopping onto the seat, which is a skill I think he should have for an eventual transition to road biking. For now, it’s more important that he practice braking with his hands instead of his feet, and that he learn to use his gears to make riding easier. We’ll raise his seat incrementally once he’s more comfortable.
As The Boy noted, we rode a five mile loop on the Cedar River Trail. Actually, we started at GHY, to see if Jesse could check The Boy’s new Shimano twist shifter, which is a bit stiff shifting into first gear. Jesse wasn’t there, and the shifter had loosened up quite a bit anyway, so we decided to just go ride. On the way up the block to the trail, someone waved at me and started over with a cool old rod-brake bike. It was Jesse, with his new Flying Pidgeon! “New” being relative, of course. The bike had been repainted dark green at some point, and was great fun to see up close. Obviously not the quality of a Raleigh Tourist, which is what the bike is modelled on, it was a bit rough around the edges. Jesse noted that it was really heavy and hard to ride any distance, but that he was having fun tootling around on it anyway. He’d also recently purchased a DL-1 and a Sports! Clearly, it’s time for a local 3-speed ride. And of course, we forgot to take any pictures, which I regretted minutes later.
About 2 miles into our trail ride, The Boy and I slipped off the trail to our old neighborhood. When The Beloved and I first moved in together, we rented a house in a neighborhood just blocks from the trail. The Boy loved that house, which goes against all child psychology. After all, I had divorced his father just over a year and a half before. We were moving from the only home he’d ever lived in with me (to be fair, his father and stepmother were moving in instead, so he still had the same bedroom), and he was gaining two sisters. Yet, it was a very happy place for all of us, and I think that’s what he remembers about it. When we stopped there, he wanted to take some photos.
Since I’d acquired a new camera, I passed on my old one today to The Boy, who was deliriously excited about it once he realized everything it could do. Many, many photos were taken.
More importantly, The Boy worked his way through all seven of his gears, feeling what gearing up or down did as he rode. We stopped after his first steep downhill, so The Boy could check out the river up close and personal under the road overpass.
The Boy easily rode back up the hill a few moments later, in first gear, then sailed down the long downhill afterward, exploring seventh. Gears are great! We finished our ride with a quick jaunt across the street to the Cedar River Market, where we got a few snacks and I showed off the Basil basket. The owner of the Market was very excited by the concept of something so easy to use when shopping by bike. Back across the street, we stopped at the small park behind the Rec Center and ate our snacks.
Nearby, a woman and her grandchildren played by the river, along with their pet, who was getting some sun. I was particularly interested in this pet, as I used to own one myself.
For five years, I owned an iguana named Jasper. We took excellent care of her, and she was a sweet, tame girl. When we decided to have kids, we knew it would be best for her to have a new home. Iguanas carry reptile salmonella, which can be deadly to babies. Not only that, but because of our dogs, we had restricted her to one room. I couldn’t imagine spending my entire life in one room, and I didn’t think an intelligent, long-lived animal should do that, either. We ended up giving her to a couple in Florida who had no children and whose own mature iguana had died during a botched operation. As far as I know, she’s still happily living with them in their house with a sun room!
This was my pretty green girl. I don’t necessarily recommend iguanas for most folks, as they require a great deal of specialized equipment (never mind the taming process), but if you have the patience and no small children, they can be wonderful pets. They are actually paper-trainable, and are vegetarians!