12.21.2008

grant went to a birthday party with mom... so dean and dad went for a bicycle ride

Sunday's Day
the weekends are often dictated by the social and athletic schedules of our children
Saturday passed with Dean's basketball game in the am and then Christmas tree sales in the afternoon then closing with the family going out to dinner at Cactus Cantina

Sunday arrived with a similar loose structure
come mid-day Grant went to a kid's birthday party with mom which gave Dean and I the opportunity to do as we pleased
the options were endless... do something or do nothing
nothing was not really a good option... doing something would take some effort..
requests for a previously viewed movie at home or Nintendo DS were denied
we needed to get out of the house
we need to get out of the zip code

there had been some initial talk about me taking Dean with me to the New Target complex to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get some stuff piggybacked with a trip across the street from the new box store complex to Sticky Fingers Bakery
the morning had started with ice and cold but the afternoon sun had melted things and the world was moderately warm
so... I ditched the errand of home improvement that demanded the use of the car and turned our afternoon into a bicycle adventure

Dean was stoked on the notion of going to Sticky Fingers I was stoked at the notion of getting him out on the bike... the cold months make bicycles rides less frequent for adults and children
Dean had his heart set on a cinnamon bun... with no knowledge or concern for the Vegan nature of this establishment

I prepped the bikes as Dean suited up... the effort to get socks and shoes on a seven year old can be a process that needs frequent instruction
the task of filling the water bottles may have overloaded the task list
Dean's Redline Raid had a front flat... so I pulled out the GT BMX bike we have on loan

the bike swaps and the airing up the tires was all done before Dean was suited up and out of the house ready to ride

we meandered through Mount Pleasant on into Columbia Heights
I used my bike and my body as a moving pick... always keeping Dean safe in my shadow
as we rode I issued instructions on where to be and what to look for
Dean added valuable information like noticing the brake lights on the parked car may be an indicator that this car may be about to pull out
these are the exact things I am trying to impart on him... an ultra alert sense of the city
the streets are dangerous
things are dangerous due to soccer moms and over achieving dads driving around in auto pilot unaware of the variables around them more focused on their Blackberrys or their cell phones
never noticing the hazards that they are creating
never realizing their contribution to the worst case scenario

there are other issues... hoods and thieves are issues as well
I feel if I sent my boys with their friends to the local elementary school on their bikes they would come home crying and bike-less
we were reminded of this sort of risk when we ran into a neighbor who recounted the tale of her four year old son's bicycle being stolen off a Mount Pleasant porch as she and her son stopped in at a friend's house to drop off holiday cookies
in under five minutes that bicycle changed hands... quite a Christmas gift
I wonder if that stolen bicycle will be placed under a stolen Christmas Tree?
this story was told to us at the tail end of our ride... I saw the hungry eyes in the hood
Christmas shoppers all around... some of them with Sticky Fingers... we locked up our bikes as we ate our snack at Sticky Fingers
it was our intention to leave with the bicycles we arrived with

on similar such visits to this strip at the junction of Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant I witnessed men and young men checking out the unlocked kid's bikes
that sort of "casing things out" glance and second pass
then they noticed me with one eye through my camera looking for passing cyclists and the other eye on my kids bikes leaned on the store wall
as lisa and the boys shopped inside

I tried to keep a balance between "kid's pace" and "adult pace"
we had no agenda except for trying to beat the setting sun and the dropping temperature
there were multiple water breaks by Dean's request which work well as photo breaks for me
but not every request was granted
it was cold and it is best to keep moving

after Dean finished all but one bite of his vegan cinnamon bun we took to the streets... well... actually the sidewalk
we meandered down the sidewalk weaving around the clusters of holiday shoppers
Dean trailed behind me following my path at my pace
I watched at each intersection that it was clear... never considering the option of a close call... never assuming that the traffic crossing our path was aware of our approach

we traversed the sidewalk along side of 14th Street then cut through the neighborhood just in time to link up with 16th Street before the bridge
the lion with its holiday decoration grabbed our attention
another short break before our pedal up hill to Carter Baron

Dean was a trooper who never complained about the endless shallow climb
as we approached Carter Baron Dean let out an exclamation... "this is where I play soccer!"
we weaved down a path that loops the fields at Carter Baron then took to the street for a long winding downhill
Dean took the hill with caution

at seven most of Dean's bicycle experience is in the alley or parking lots and parks
the streets are less frequent
it is more common for the longer rides to involve the trail-a-bike
so this long winding road section was something new
it pleased me that Dean opted for caution over wrecklessness
I snapped some photos as we moved

it was a great reward...
the path I picked would involve pretty much an easy ride except for the 16th Street climb
the road by Carter Baron took us down into Rock Creek Park to Beach Drive where the street is closed to car traffic on weekends over by the Park Police Station
Dean was a bit turned around in where we were but was estatic when he pieced it together

it was a good day
we ran into some friends and more than that we got to hang out one on one
the ride ended with a climb out of the park up Porter Street
again Dean impressed me with his ability to muscle the climb without complaint
there was a pause where he leaned against the chain link fence half way up the hill
I accepted that it is a big hill for a little person on a little bike with a little gear

we got home before the temperature dropped
bikes were put away and Dean met up with some kids from the block
the kids played for a bit at our house and were then called home for dinner
it was dark and it was cold when I went out to walk the dog
for some reason the boys were interested in joining me
we all strapped on Petzel headlamps and took to the woods with hats, gloves, and jackets
Grant brought his toy binoculars which we used to see if we could get a better look at the ZOO LIGHTS
but no... the magnification was more toy than tool
when we returned home dinner was on the table

it was a good day



1 comment:

MB said...

what a beautiful day!

xo
m