yes, I over reacted... yes... my behavior was over the top... but it was the classic situation of inappropriate action and over reaction

Outside Magazine piece on PARENTING

What kind of parent are you?
NPR has a story on the topic
I am a bearded dad... I know that much

this post is from last weekend... this weekend has been awesome
last weekend was awesome
need to keep the momentum 
awesome weekends make for an awesome life

aspects of my life are awesome
other aspects of my life are not so awesome
I can accept the balance of the scales
there will aways be good and bad
just want that ratio to favor the good and not the bad

gonna give this post a quick glance and hit PUBLISH AND POST

this weekend past I proposed a bike ride with the boys
this notion of proposing a bike ride goes against my parenting rule of "don't ask... tell"
so often I think I have a great idea for an adventure with the kids
I propose this option and they shoot it down

that is why it is better for parents to tell their children how they are going to spend their day rather than asking them if they want to do a certain activity

there is another tactic that I often apply
I will offer up options
I will give them a few choices
normally I will give them two options that I would like to do and then another option that I think that they would be quick to refuse

for example...

"Do you want to go hike the Billy Goat Trail with the dog?

Go for a mountain bike Ride?
Help me clean the garage and basement followed by doing some yard work?"

this is a no brainer
they get to be involved in the process while I get the boys doing something other than playing video games
video games are the devil

this weekend I played things a little different
on Friday from work I sent the boys a text message saying something to the effect that I would like to go for a bike ride on Sunday with a stop at Hains Point to hit a bucket of balls

to my surprise I got a response... 
it is rare that either of my boys respond to my text messages
what was even more shocking... each of the boys were in moderate agreement with the urban bike ride with a stop for some time at the driving range at the golf course at Hains Point

earlier that week I had seen Chris Merriam... Chris said my bike would be ready this weekend
a few months earlier I had sent out a request to my mountain bike team\DCMTB to see if anyone had an old single speed mountain bike that they would be willing to let go on the cheap
I got a few responses... all of them good deals... none of which fell into my desired price range

until Eric Loach chimmed in

as it turns out Eric had his old Salsa single speed in parts with no intention to build it back up
I asked about price... Eric did not want any money
I offered a bottle of Bourbon... the same trade I made for a Xylophone with fellow mountain biker\photographer Lee Dier
Eric turned down the trade for Bourbon and offered the bike up at no charge

Eric was just looking to pay it forward
Eric wanted to reward me for my contribution to the mountain bike community for my time with MORE and also for my commitment to the blog
that felt nice

Eric and I made a time to meet and I went to his house in NOVA and picked up the bike
in parts I could not appreciate what Eric was passing my way
I was appreciative
but I did not quite get what was being presented

but once my buddy Chris Merriam helped me out with the build I had a greater understanding of what an amazing bike this Salsa Juan Solo is

Eric had recommended trying the set up as a Six\Niner
that is a bike with a 29 inch wheel in the front and a standard 26 inch wheel in the back
Trek had tried this design a few years back and those who bought it loved it
and I had that old Cannondale back in the day with a 26er in the front and a 24 inch wheel in the back 

Eric is a fit and fast cyclist with superior technical handling
so I thought we would give it a shot
it the geometry did not seem to work
then we would fall back to the standard dual 26 inch wheel design

when I stopped by Chris Merriam's house to get this bike I was amazed at how beautiful the bike was
Chris handled a beautiful build
Eric had given me a beautiful bike for my son Dean!

the Salsa Juan Solo was not only beautiful but it was also light

so Sunday I was slow out of the gate
a late Saturday night had me moving slow on Sunday
I started my day with the requisite hike with the dog
then I drove across town to grab that bike

when I was home morning had turned to afternoon and the day was quickly slipping away
I did what I could to get the three of us mobile

I made some sandwiches and had the boys pack water bottles
I checked air in the tires and lube on the chain
my Sir Nine needed a little adjustment from the build after my Colorado trip
each of the boys needed a little adjustments to their bikes

Grant was just as stoked to be getting Dean's old Gunnar Single Speed as Dean was to be getting Eric Loaches old Salsa Juan Solo Single Speed

even with the excitement of going for a ride I had to fight to get some momentum
I fought to get some momentum and I also had to fight the resistance
as much as the boys love riding the bikes
they love video games more

and young Grant
Grant was not looking to do a major epic
so... I promised it would be less than 20 miles
estimating that it would be closer to 15

we left out
me and the boys
all of us on single speeds
all of us ready to attack the day

out the door and down the block
we meandered off the sidewalk onto the street
early into the ride I was already frustrated with the cars around me
cars passed us fast and close
then a double parked car opened the door right in front of me and my boys

it can be tense
riding a bike in the city can be tense
total white knuckled adventure
add in the momma bear and her cubs protectiveness
and well
I can be quite a bear

as we rode I tried to bark orders to have the boys ride more safely
it irks me that I have to do this
but I want my boys to be safe and respectful of others
for the most part the kids are safe... a little wild at times... but safe

for the most part things went smoothly
we got some snarls and stares on the multiuse bike path
as my boys made what were safe and logical passes
but the oncoming runners mistook my young boys as being reckless
when actually... they are pretty safe in their efforts

these kids have plenty of experience of riding around
they have been riding the multi-use bike paths since they got their training wheels off
they have been weaving through crowded sidewalks since they had training wheels
and they have been riding with me in traffic since we started adding occasional bike rides to and from school into their routine

the ride to Hains Point is short
our house is not that far from downtown
when we arrived there was a flurry of activity
it was a beautiful spring day
the links were loaded
the putting greens were packed
and the driving range was no different

we waited in line to get a few clubs and some tokens so that each of us could get a bucket of balls
then onto the upper deck we looked for a vacant slot so we could start hitting some balls
it was packed
a few open slots with clubs but no golfers
but nothing completely vacant

we started off by sharing a slot
then shortly after we each had our own driving slot and got to take some swings on our own
I offered up a little coaching
but as a non-golfer there is not much advice for me to give
other than keep your eye on the ball and have a fluid swing
don't worry about power
I of course always fall pack on power instead of finesse 

I was done my bucket of balls before the boys
so I told the boys to take their time and meet me at the club house
I would order some chicken tenders and fries to go with our sandwiches
then instructed them to put their baskets and clubs away when they were done

the timing out worked out well

the boys arrived just a little bit before the food
it was a nice afternoon
the weather and the company
a soda as a treat would give us some sugar to help fuel the day

it was mellow... yet I was feeling the pull of getting moving
"sit-still-itice" was kicking in
there was still much ground to cover
we had to get to two locations for Dean's school project
one of those locations being Lincoln Park on the other side of town
the other being Sumner House near National Geographic that would fit nicely into our route home

we meandered the city... trying to focus on car free routes
trying to stay either on bike paths... bike lanes... or streets that were not congested with cars
we short cute through various parks and looped the stairs and other obstacles

at Lincoln Park Dean and I took a few laps on the urban single track
Grant took five
the boys climbed a tree
we took our photos of the Emancipation Memorial for Dean's project
then we were mobile again

down East Capitol pointed to the US Capitol Building

we live in Washington DC
it is cool to have the boys experience Washington DC
it was fun to hear young Grant recall his field trip the Folger library a few weeks earlier
this is their hometown
this is their life

as said... in our ride we cut through various parks
the boys rode the stairs and whatever other urban obstacles we could find
on the Capital grounds the boys found a great set of stairs and some very cool ramps
there was no tourist activity... I was not sure how the Hill Cops would respond
but we tried to be respectful... I told the boys to stay off the grass and ride with a care and concern

we looped these obstacles a number of times before pointing things back towards home 
we still two more stops
the second photo location for Dean's school project
then to Meridian Hill Park for the drum circle

there had been a promise of KanJam at Malcolm X Park
but no... that was unlikely

it was getting late
I had frisbees but did not carry the KanJam cans
initially I had thought I would zip home to get them
but it was late in the day and I was not thinking that I had the time to head home and back

Grant was aggitated
playing frisbee was not enough
he wanted KanJam or nothing
I told him to cut me some slack and let me do something for me

Dean and I flipped a disc
my boys are pretty solid at frisbee for their age
as Dean and I threw the frisbee Grant entertained himself by trying to hit the frisbee out of the air with a stick
I was okay with this... because it kept him from petitioning me to leave

the drum circle had its usual flurry of activity
the music in the background to an assortment of activities
soccer balls and foot balls
frisbees and hola hoops
slack lines and acro-yoga
all sorts of alternate activities

and of course
people just hanging out

I got to say hello to some friends
I got to throw a frisbee
I got to chill-lax
but I knew it was time to go home

our late lunch had us less than hungry
but I knew the boys would have to eat
I knew I would have to eat
which meant I needed to head home and throw some food on the grill
so... we grabbed our bikes and started for home

no issue... this is a solvable problem 
I dug in my bag... I had some tools... a pump... and a variety of tubes
but no patch kit and no 26 inch tube
that is weird... I could swear I put a pack of Park clueless patches in my bag

still a solvable problem

this was easy enough to resolve
who is here? who would have a patch kit I could borrow?
I scanned the park... ah... Joseph

I approached Joseph Sage Raindancer who I had already caught up with
I knew that he traveled with all sorts of tools and whatnot in his pack
sure enough... he had a patch kit to borrow

we would not need to walk home... we would be riding home
a short ride can be a long walk
and we already had a long ride and neither of us felt like walking

in minutes I had Grant's wheel off his bike... flat repaired... then wheel back on the bike
then we headed off for home
Once home I cooked up some chicken fajitas on the grill
then after dinner I sat back with a laptop in my lap and looked at some images and reflected on my day
what a day

good time for me
good time for the kids

yes... it was a good day
but a day not without its issues
just as there was the issue with the double parked car and the door opening in front of us
there were other moments

when leaving the golf course we got tailgated by a car that approached obnoxiously fast
when they passed with unnecessary acceleration the passenger shouted out the window for us to get off the road
I shouted out things I should not say in front of my children
I shouted out things that I should not say at all

then of course we had numerous other moments where there were cars passing us obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close

when we tried to approach the 15th Street Bike Lanes were were unable to go past the White House
there was caution tape and Secret Service preventing people from heading through that way
that is pretty common
so we took to the sidewalk for a two blocks

while on the sidewalk we moved slow as we tried to pass the herd of tourists taking up the whole sidewalk walking in an ameboid mass 7-9 people wide
we moved slowly and I gave a gentle chant of "on  your left... on your left" as we passed
when  a man started yelling and cussing at me to get off the sidewalk and onto the road

oh piss shit fck
that ironic asshole
that guy was a clone of the clown from earlier that day
no matter where we are on the bike
we are in the wrong place

that same person would tell us to get off the street
not that same person tells us to get off the sidewalk

this time I did not cuss
but I did yell aggressively back telling him that I do not go to his hometown and tell him how to behave 
and that he should not come to my hometown and tell me how to behave

in short... there are laws
although it is against the law to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk
this is a ride with an 11 and 13 year old boy
this law does not apply to them

but above and beyond that 
it is not about obeying the law
it is about arriving alive
it is about putting ourselves where we are most safe

at Hains Point we were on the road rather than the sidewalk
there were people on the sidewalk 
and the road has a speed limit of 25 MPH
although we were not going 25... we were within the limits of the law
while the car that passed us
they not only broke the speed limit
but they broke the speed limit while passing people on bikes
not just people... but children
fcking assholes... pale out of shape... lame assholes

it was a great day
I did get a little aggressive towards these people
but really
I have thought these things through
I do not respect these people's perspective in the situation
their logic is selfish and "involved" 

they are not concerned about the safety of others
they are just concerned about themselves

fck them

it was a great day
even if I had to rub elbows with a long list of idiots and assholes

back in the '80's there was that "die yuppie scum" saying
I think we need a revision of that
something for these times
people suck
they are either idiots or assholes
not everyone... but plenty of them
luckily I interact with a tribe of people who are more evolved
these people make living on this planet livable