Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bicycle built for two

Had intended to rent a city trike for the reluctant cyclist at the shop in Hiram, but they were closing early today. Drove back in to Mableton and rented one of the tandems from the Silver Comet Depot today.

B2 (almost 10) hasn't ridden a bike since the big spill last fall. He was only scraped up a little, but Dad's arm took two metal plates and 16-18 screws. Threats, cajoling and bribery have all failed to get him to try on his own, and at half my weight, there's no way for me to keep him balanced on the third wheel trail-a-bike.

After a study of the solid frame, two wheels and comfort saddle, he decided that one minor threat and promise of mid-ride Nutter Butters were sufficient to get him to try riding again. We let the single riders of the family get a head start, while we did a test spin around the parking lot. B2 was very nervous starting out, and I was prepared for the worst.

By the time we'd looped around and were getting ready to turn onto the trail, this is how the conversation was going:

B2: Hey! We're not wobbly.
Me: Nope, we're not.
B2: This bike is pretty stable. I think I like just having two wheels.
Me: So... you're okay with heading out now?
B2: Yeah.
Me: Need those Nutter Butters?
B2: No. I'm okay. I think this will be fun.

Within five minutes, B2 was telling me all about how he likes the bike, and loves riding with me. We had a pleasant five miles out, stopped for ice water (and nutter butter cookies), and headed back. The way back was filled with more pleasant conversation, as we tried out code words for when his feet slipped off the pedals. We finally settled on "Heinz". That was my cue to coast for a minute, so he could "ketchup".

Really great experience. And not just because it wasn't the constant worry about him throwing a fit and causing a crash. (Fit meaning deciding to go totally passive in protest and let the front rider do ALL the balancing - and it's happened... like during the crash last September.) In discussing the ride with Dad later that evening:

Dad: So? What did you think about riding the Tandem? Want to try it again sometime?
B2: No.
B2: ................[long pause*]................
*Moment of being utterly crushed as my hopes for happy family 2-wheeled day trips are dashed.
B2: I want to go again next weekend. Or maybe in three days.

Needless to say, I'm very, very happy.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

Great idea with the special bike--it sounds like it is a process but your ride was certainly time well invested.