6.10.2010

Wednesday... another day... just another day...

TWO LESSONS:
don't listen to the excuses on why not to ride...
and
caution riding in the rain or after the rain...


Wednesday arrived...
Wednesday arrived just after Tuesday...
the week was unfolding just as planned... well almost

the final weeks of school involve some unorthodox days
for my younger son's Kindergarten class there is FUN WEEK!

FUN WEEK has themed days each day... sadly the Astro Turf Soccer Field has removed the option for WHEEL DAY
but the week is still fun packed

Wednesday was set as WATER DAY
the threat of rain had my son's forward thinking kindergarten teacher switch Wednesday's WATER DAY with Thursday's GAME DAY... Water Day is far too important to risk having it get RAINED OUT!
GAME DAY is perfect for a rainy day!
GOOD THINKING!

Water Day Rained Out?
yes... squirt guns and water balloons are more fun in the sun than out in the rain
while games may be best played indoors where lost pieces are more easily found
it was a logical exchange!

sure enough... the morning arrived and it was gray and raining as expected
excellent forethought by a teacher who has spent her year displaying her excellence

in the morning I rallied the boys in the usual fashion
my older son Dean gets out of bed without resistance
my younger son Grant gets out of bed on his own terms
some days are harder to wake Grant than others

FUN WEEK gets Grant out of bed with little issue
Grant rises without any need for bargains or deals
the anticipation of another day of FUN DAY in FUN WEEK wakes him quickly
I try to accelerate his momentum by asking him which bike he wants to ride
Grant is very excited about his new/used six speed geared bike with 20 inch wheels

Grant lights up and answers... "GEARED BIKE!"
then drops his feet to the floor and makes a dash for the bathroom
after that he sits in front of his drawers and awaits my cajoling
he hates my verbal pushes... he needs my verbal push

we are a little slow out of the gate
we are often slow out of the gate
it is not raining hard... but it is raining
rain is expected for the rest of the day

it is Wednesday... Wednesday is one of the days of the week where I bring the boys bikes to school so that we can ride bikes home together
for a second I consider not loading the bikes into the car
instead... I stick to the plan
packing rain jackets in the boy's back packs and grabbing a trash bag to drape over the boys bikes outside of the school

commuting by bike is more of an action than a thought
thought just clogs the process
bicycle commuting and bicycle riding falls under the "JUST DO IT" philosophy
it could be too cold... too wet... too hot... too humid... too nice

it is best not to weigh in those variables
it is best to just do it


the afternoon comes and it is wet
not terribly wet... light rain coming down and wet ground under our feet and our tires
had it been a monsoon I would have driven and grabbed the boys and the bikes in the car
but no... as sweet as my boys are... they are not made of sugar
they will not melt from riding in the rain

I too wear a rain jacket
it is wet... even the spray from the tires is enough to get us wet

we take an urban ride home without any messing around
my older son Dean has soccer try outs later this afternoon
we need to get home and fuel up and suit up for the afternoon try outs
once home I learn that the try outs have been canceled due to the weather
tryouts rescheduled for Friday

no tryouts... at least we got to ride our bikes
we got to ride our bikes in the rain
we got to ride our bikes in spite of the rain

riding in the rain is a situation of increased variables
as we rode I instructed the boys to understand that riding in the rain takes a little additional focus and concentration
although was not heavy on it... I made mention that visibility is decreased with wet wind shields
for the most part the kids are on the sidewalks and when on the street... I am there blocking for them... putting them where we are most safe... putting our three man bicycle pack where we can be seen

third grade and kindergarten age children are not ready to decide where they are most safe
they should ride in a guided situation

there were other variables to discuss
as we zipped down the sidewalk I tried to help the boys to understand that traction is different when it is wet
I instructed them so that they would be careful when riding over metal surfaces and that stopping on wet surfaces is different than dry

Grant was riding his geared bike with hand brakes... so I tried to help him understand that his braking would be different with the wet rims
as we meandered through the city I tried to teach the boys to avoid the metal man hole covers and the metal grates... had their been any marble surfaces I would have instructed them to avoid those as well
it is tough... these lessons may only be learned the hard way
I do not want them to have to learn the hard way

this is not so easy... the boys need to know that it will take them longer to stop and that it takes the cars longer time to stop... this is tough to grasp
it is also tough to pass on this information without creating some fear or paranoia

the slippery surfaces are not really a danger unless the cyclist is braking or making a quick turn on them
usually the surfaces can be crossed without issue
but in the wrong situation
in the case of a panic stop or a quick move
the slick metal surface can have the grip of ice
in my life I have experienced trying to turn and brake on marble sidewalks and found the bike to disappear from in between my legs

our wednesday ride was just another wednesday ride
a little more wet but really no different than any other ride home from school
the boys enjoy the ride
the bicycle rides before and after school are something that they look forward to
which helps them to look forward to school a little more

ah...
sound familiar
adult bicycle commuters have a similar relationship with their bicycle
the little ones are really not so different than the big ones


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