ah... morning... morning ride... morning ride with my son Dean... what? that is a twist

this week past my older son Dean went to rowing camp at the Thompson Boat Center

Dean has no prior rowing experience

this was an introduction to rowing camp put on by the rowing coach at B-CC
there was talk... Dean sounded interested... so Lisa signed him up

the boys usually go to the same summer camp at the same time

but this rowing camp is for older children
which had younger Grant at Calleva for a week of caving
while Dean would be involved in rowing

the boys at different locations made for difficult drop off

Lisa had the wisdom of dropping Dean off with his bicycle so he could get himself home
after the first day of drop off of Dean and his bike I suggested that I ride with Dean to his camp in the morning
this would free up Lisa to get Grant to his camp then off to work
and I can peel off on my bike after riding with Dean and head to my office

we were just back from the beach

two weeks at the beach
one week with mom... one week with dad
two weeks for the kids with their cousins and a neighbor's son at Rehoboth Beach

WOW! what an epic summer beach experience

back from the beach
back to the normal routine
hike the dog with the boys
after the hike with the boys and the dog I let the boys get a minutes rest then got them on the bikes
Grant resisted... Grant always resists
Dean was excited in his Dean happy go lucky sort of way

not only did I have to motivate the boys
well.. not motivate them
but fight them about their priorities
I had to get them to turn off their "screens"

so... after I made it clear that the bicycle ride was going to happen the boys started to rally
I gathered bikes and helmets while the boys suited up
Grant still offered up resistance as I fixed a flat and gathered gear 

yet I still had to bark orders
eat something... fill water bottles....

it was decided that we would do a short ride with Grant
then Grant would loop back for home while Dean and I would push it forward and further
with the intent on arriving Thompson's Boat Center where we could then do a "dry run" of the bike ride home from camp

the ride was nice
Dean is fast and fit
the Capital Crescent Trail was congested with its wide variety of users 
I felt that we navigated the path respectfully without too much speed and without any "close calls"

the separated bike path is an interesting place
the different trail users
the varying intensities
there is much to be worried about this
we try not to contribute to the chaos

we try not to "buzz the tower"
we try not behave in a way that would put ourselves and others at risk

the ride was nice
not a sweaty hammer fest
more of a smooth cruise
no huffing and puffing
just pedaling along

on the stretch between Thompson's Boat Center and home I stressed the dangers around us
the need for complete stops at the stop signs
eye contact with car drivers so it is known that they see you and that they are going to stop for you
tried to teach Dean where to anticipate the direction of the approaching cars

really... it is scary
when the kids are on their bikes I cross my fingers and I pray
car drivers are a mixture of idiots and assholes
either they don't see me or they do not respect my right to space
it scares me to think that my boys have to deal with this sort of danger when they are on their bikes

we arrived home
I was relieved to see Grant got home safe
of course Grant got home safe
but as a parent I fear the "worst case scenario"

every parent fears the worst case scenario

without skipping a beat Dean transitioned from the bike ride to the computer to start gaming
the boys love their video games

strava data from our Sunday Ride

the day was done...
I had hiked the boys
I had biked the boys
then their mother had plans to take them to the movies
it was fine for them to enter their screen world

for me... I did what I felt was good use of time for the boys
good for their body and soul
all right out our front door
proper use of time

it is an interesting thing sending my 10 year old son Grant out on the roads on his own
Grant is quite capable
but the dangers are every present
so... even though I "grant" him these freedoms
it does not happen without me worrying

I worry whenever the boys are out of my sight
actually... I also worry when the boys are in my sight
the world is a scary place
people suck
and for that... I worry

the morning rides with Dean were nice
I tried to be firm yet gentle in my instruction
not criticizing him but trying to guide him
trying to get him to learn how to be safe on his bicycle

I can not bark orders at him... I do... but the wind usually captures these instructions 
he is not a puppet whose actions are controlled by my movement of strings
he is a real boy
so I try to teach him how to be smart and safe
and yes... then I cross my fingers and sometimes pray

Thursday was the last day of Dean's 4 day rowing camp
one more day for us to get a short ride together before we start our separate days
I woke and stubbled around
sipped coffee as I gathered myself to start my day

dressed... teeth brushed... coffee in hand
I instruct Dean to put his shoes on and to be ready to leave by the time I am back from walking the dog

Dean breaks his focus from his computer and says "okay"

out into the woods for a short loop with the dog
Didg gets to stretch his legs
drop the dog kids off at the pool
and if he is lucky... Didg gets to run with another dog for a minute or two

fantastic randomness with the dog

back from walking the dog... and Dean has not moved
still at the table
headphones on and face lit up by the laptop screen
Dean had not heard a word I said

no more breakfast had been eaten
shoes had not been put on
bag had not been packed
Dean had not heard me

we were on track... not at risk of being late
but we did need to get out the door

I gathered my gear and packed my bag
Dean gathered his gear and packed his bag

we stepped out the door and pointed towards Dean's rowing camp
the distance between home and camp is not far

on the sidewalk out front of the house I send Dean ahead
Dean gets to lead
Dean gets to set the pace
I follow close behind offering unheard instruction as we pedal

our route is short and simple
sidewalk on Porter street down into Rock Creek Park
onto the bike path in "the park"
down past the zoo... up by the Calvert street bridge

at the street crossings I stress the dangers of the situations
the need for a complete stop on the bike 
but more importantly
the need for the oncoming car to see them and stop for them 

not to take any chances
only to cross when it is KNOWN to be safe\clear

at the crosswalk we have a minute to talk
I warn Dean about the sand on the path ahead
I usually go around the sand
Dean goes through the sand

going through the sand is fine... the rider just needs to be poised and ready for the sand

we cross and I send Dean ahead to set the pace
again warning
"careful... there is a patch of sand at the base of the hill before the bridge"

Dean is fast off the line
it is not clear if Dean is giving an audible when he passes the other trail users
most of the runners\walkers are wearing headphones
just as I experienced with Dean earlier that morning

Dean cruises down the hill weaving between the other trail users
rolling 10-12 feet behind him I watch his control as he passes the other trail users
then I watch as Dean goes through sand and onto the bridge
onto the bridge there is a place where their is a slight rise in the concete
I hear my rear rim kiss the concrete
I can see just ahead as Dean is leaving the short foot bridge that he has a flat


we pull over and I pull a patch kit and a pump from my pack
I have a decade old Park glueless patch kit in my bag
that and a spare tube for my size tire
I fix the flat with some anxiety about whether this patch will hold
my last effort with one of these kits did not hold

was my fear of "shelf life" correct?

air in the tire... wheel back on the bike... we mounted up
three pedal strokes down the path and the rear tire was flat again

back to the trail side
I pulled my road tube out and replaced Dean's cyclocross tube with a slightly smaller tube

by this time more than a dozen cyclists had passed
okay... newbie cyclists
a real cyclist would look at the person on the trail side and ask if they need assistance
hoping that they do not need help
but offering it just the same

we got not so much as a glance

tube replaced we were mobile again

we had what we needed to get mobile again
as I know... a short bike ride can be a long walk

as we finished the final mile to Dean's camp there was some talk about the ease to which a crossbike\road bike can flat versus the mountain bike

we arrived at camp... usually we are a little early... on this day we may have been a little late
I left Dean at the parking lot and I left off for a ride before work

I did an hour loop that took me from Rock Creek Park to the Mount Vernon Trail
when returning from Virginia into DC on Key Bridge I saw a rowing shell in the river
I stalled on the bridge for 5-10 minutes waiting for the shell to come closer
waiting to catch a glimpse of what could be a group of rowers including my son

the boat stopped too long for me to wait
I had to get into work

it was a short ride... but a great way to start the day
I really enjoyed sharing my morning with my older son

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