Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pining for cycling

Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Cycling has always been a huge part of my life, until having two kids. Even when we just had Rosie, I still went on 25-mile weekend rides and occasionally biked to work, but once Dash arrived, I've only rarely been more than around the neighborhood. The last time I seriously biked for cycling's sake was on our Rehoboth trip late last Fall, when we realized that Rosie-plus-Dash were beyond my trailer's capacity and we had to rent a second one. We'd travel about 10 miles at a time, because of the heat and the kids' attention span.

Growing up, my family belonged to a cycling club, where my dad had a few terms as president. We spent almost every weekend on a tour with the club around the Chicago area, occasionally venturing out to Indiana and Wisconsin. When my sister and I were teens, our dad discovered VBT and better, Bike Vermont. We'd travel to Vermont in the summers and stay for a week, biking during the day and either follow the guides on set tours, or go on Dad-led rides. I remember "cork-screw hill" and "suicide hill" fondly, as well as the maple syrup shops and later, the Woodstock Cider Brewery. Sis and I would usually take the 40-60 mile/day trips, while Dad would go for the Century rides and take all the options. He would always be back at the lodge before us, super-athlete that he is!

When AJS and I first met, he didn't own a car and traveled 100% by bike; on our first date, he was wearing his bike gloves and a scrubby helmet was on the bench seat next to him (at Food for Thought, a long-gone dive on Conn Ave.). Before Rosie was born, we used to ride together all over DC on the weekends, picnicking on the Mall. AJS got a job in Rockville and bought a folding bike that he adored to commute with until it was stolen.

When we lived in Mount Pleasant, I was training for a bike tour in Ireland (in '98, with Bike Vermont, my dad & sister) and I did hill training by looping steep Hobart St.>Mt Pleasant St.>Harvard St.>Adams Mil Rd.l>Irving St.>Hobart St. over and over again. It really paid off, even though the residents must have thought I was nuts. The last tour the three of us went on together was in 2001 to Hawaii's Big Island, which was spectacular -- imagine riding your bike on the edge of a volcano's crater.

The past two summers, my dad, sister and I have taken both the kids to a beach house in Rehoboth (pictured from 2006), where we have taken bike trips throughout our stays. One-year old Dash looks veeeeery mischevious in this pic -- he's holding a stolen ID in his grubby hands. But that's it for the biking lately. Kind of lame for such a cycling soul, eh?

I recently stumbled upon Gwadzilla's blog; he's a dad living in DC that lives for cycling and the outdoors. Reading his entries is making me want to get on my bike and get out there. Not to bike to work -- I've tried cycling in Tysons Corner before; it's a NIGHTMARE I wouldn't recommend to anyone-- but to bike when I get home and on the weekends. I think only Dash will fit in the trailer now, so I've been considering if Rosie will be jealous if we are out without her.

Maybe tonight? It's looking sunny out! I'll see about pumping the tires up when I get home...


  1. thanks for the shout out!

    as parents we must keep what we love as part of our lives
    sharing and passing down what we love to our children

    as families...
    we need to take back the streets

    we need to drive around others as we want them to drive around us

    and we need to ride in such a way that car drivers understand that we have a right to be there

    my kids ride their bikes all over Mount Pleasant
    still on the sidewalks and in the alleys
    it scares me to death!

    I try and train them to be safe
    but... where are the car driver's parents to teach them?

    Food For Thought?
    I remember seeing Rites of Spring and other bands there when I was in high school

  2. That bike o mine is as out of shape as I am. Can we drop it off for a tune up/relube as well as new tires? God knows how warped the brake pads are. Don't want to have to yell "NO BRAKES" with winkies in tow.


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