There is much about my life that I couldn’t have predicted but am grateful for. I had no intention of becoming a triathlete much less of doing an Ironman. And a spandex-wearing cyclist? No way.
Much to my dismay, I am a cyclist and as afraid as I am of riding my tri bike, I love it. I hadn’t been out in a while as I was in marathon training mode, but I rode on Sunday and I fell in love again. I am lulled by the sound of the wheel on the asphalt and wind in my face. And even if I love riding with friends, I also enjoy the lonelier ones: they are my mediation, where I find peace in the quiet of my thoughts.
I sense the dawn of a new era in my family, and it includes mountain bikes. I could possibly say I am just as nervous about exposed roots and drops than I am of cars on the road. Therefore the change would not be a welcomed one if it weren’t for the fact that it allows us, as a family, another opportunity to be outside spending quality time together.
Joe could join me on a road bike but the boys, Dreamer (age 8) and Fearless (age 6), are too young to ride on dangerous Miami streets. Not that a mountain bike is necessarily safe, we’ve already had several bumps and bruises; nor that I have made the best parenting decisions when it comes to riding.
Yet believe it or not, these alligators are safer than riding next to cars. The gators haven’t attacked anyone in over 30 years, whereas it seems a cyclist gets hit by a car every weekend.
This new era began because we are planning a bike-centric vacation this summer where we will ride 300 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain (more on that on another post.) And though the boys and I used our bikes often, Joe wasn’t very convinced as we rode old, rusted, heavy bikes. Thinking about this summer led Joe to get a new bike … along with spandex shorts.
I preferred to stay with the rusty one since if I were to have any bike related expense, it would go to my beloved tri bike Slice. Plus, given that I am a nervous nelly, a crappy bike gives me a perfect excuse not to go on the advanced trails or any technical route.
The fantastic thing though, is that even if we don’t hit the officially marked bike trails, we have been riding our bikes more often. We’ve seen places in our island we hadn’t seen before as you can’t get there by car:
We’ve had adventures:
We laugh after the tumbles and falls and sing songs about roots and face plants.
I am fully aware one of these might not end well, but firmly believe it’s worth the risk.
We are creating another level of our family’s culture, and the boys now ask where are we riding next weekend. I guess I should invest in spare parts for these tires as well.
Last Saturday, we went to Bill Baggs State Park; we are fortunate enough to ride there from our house. We went around some nature trails which led us to different inlets of the bay, after all, we are in an island. We spent time checking out some manta rays and playing explorers, and then headed to the lighthouse. After lunch, Joe and the boys went up to the top. Since I am not fond of heights I waited for them downstairs, checking Twitter of course.
And as we rode back home, Joe put music on these little speakers he has. Chuck Berry, a new favorite, was blasting through his backpack. The boys were right behind him, bobbing their heads to the beat of “Johnny B. Goode” and life, at that very instant was perfect.
And if you would’ve told me a couple of years ago that this is what our family would enjoy doing on a Saturday, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I am grateful to have been so very wrong.