Was it a result of being overly optimistic? Was it because the sun was finally shining warm and bright? Or was it because I had absolutely nothing planned and wanted to make the most of this precious together time with my kiddos? Yes, yes and yes. All of the above reasons contributed to my most recent biking adventure.
It all started when I uttered the words, “Hey, how about we all go biking?” It seemed innocent enough…
Since my 2-year-old tends to smother my 3-month-old with love, I was going to need my pull-behind cart AND my Wee Ride baby seat to keep them segregated. I decided to use my husband’s bike, which already had the baby seat installed on it. I only needed to attach a simple adapter so I could pull the cart — but my efforts were thwarted by a quick-release bolt that wouldn’t budge. “That’s okay,” I naively thought, “I’ll just use my bike instead.” So I started detaching the baby seat from my husband’s bike. That was a bad idea.
The seat proved to be a formidable adversary. It was VERY securely fastened to his bike (a good thing, since it’s where a giant child 2-year-old rides!). But that also means it was a beast getting off. It was especially challenging because my husband’s tool chest is in terrible disarray — and wouldn’t you know it, the only tool I needed was missing.
So after some finagling, I got the baby seat off his bike and started securing it to mine. That’s when my 2-year-old started getting real antsy and my 3-month-old suddenly woke up from her peaceful slumber and started wailing.
My 4-year-old did his best to console her, by singing and attempting to put her nuk back in, but again — no dice. As I was struggling and sweating and near-swearing (I definitely yelled out “Mother Ffffffffffffather!” at one point), my 4-year-old looked at me calmly and said, “Mom, I know you are feeling frustrated because the bike isn’t working and daddy’s tools are missing and Haley is crying. But you can’t give up! Don’t give up, Mommy!” It was one heck of a motivational speech! I really couldn’t give up after that. So I sweated and struggled and sweated a little more, and finally it worked! Huzzah!
But by this time, my 3-month-old was REALLY crabby. I rocked her for a couple minutes and when she calmed down I quickly fastened her carseat into the cart and threw my 2-year-old on the newly reinstalled baby seat. I yelled, “Get on your bike!” to my 4-year-old, who up to this exact moment had been super excited to try out his new big-kid bike. But then he panicked and yelled, “I don’t know how to ride It! The seat is too high! I can’t pedal!” And he promptly tipped over.
I tried to help him up the best I could, as I was perched up on my bike seat and balancing the 2-year-old in front of me, but it was obvious this wasn’t going to work. Then my 3-month-old started crying again. In a fit of near-rage, I told my 4-year-old to wait patiently while I took 2 laps around the cul-de-sac. My daughter stopped crying. Eureka! I told my 4-year-old he was just going to have to jump in the cart with her. He had a slightly panicked look on his face and yelled, “Ok, but you’ll have to slow down so I can get in!” I reassured him that I would come to a complete stop first, and he seemed quite relieved that he wouldn’t have to dive in while I biked briskly by.
Finally, everyone was in and we were off! My 2-year-old had some jolly belly laughs as the wind blew in his face. My 4-year-old sang merrily to my daughter, who was very content watching the scenery go by. I was super gleeful that I had actually managed to get us on a bike ride! Then after approximately 30 seconds, I realized how terribly out of shape I am. I shifted down to the lowest gear as I started to sweat (even more). Cripes, we weren’t even out of our neighborhood yet!
After puffing for two blocks, I did a mental tally — the kids added about an extra 80 pounds to my ride, and that wasn’t counting the weight of the baby seat, cart and carseat. Yeesh! But with some triumphant cheers from my boys, I was able to keep going. I made it a full 10 minutes and then turned around. I can tell you that the last 10 minutes (mostly uphill) were kinda rough! But overall, it was one of the best 20-minute leg workouts I can remember. And it was probably one of the most exciting bike rides the boys can remember! I’ll chalk that up as a win 🙂