Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ticket to Ride

Start 'em early!
I would like to say that I have been riding a bike as long as I can remember.  That wouldn't be quite accurate.  All these years later, I still remember learning how to ride a bike - and the skinned-up body parts that come from the lesson.  I remember the Schwinn bike, given a fresh coat of baby blue spray paint to spruce it up.  I think it weighed more than I did!  I stood when I road, my legs not long enough to reach the pedals from a seated position.  The feeling of freedom was amazing in the rural town I called home.  I could go as far as my legs would take me - as long as I answered the dinner bell when my mom rang it from the front porch to call me home.

I spent a couple of near bike-less decades in my 20's and 30's.  That is, I didn't do much riding, though I did teach 3 little boys to ride.  Of course, that alone didn't take that may years, but the mothering part was pretty all-consuming.  It wasn't until they went their ways that I picking up a bike again.  And my picked up, I mean, the new bike was light enough to actually consider lifting.  What a change!  For the past decade or more, I have been doing a lot of biking.  And some of my favorite memories include grandboys - of course!  And because Bryce had me all to himself the first five years of his life, many of those memories include Bryce.
My favorite bobble head!

We had a little red bike that Bryce used to ride - one of those first bikes with training wheels, the pedals connected directly to the front wheel, and no brakes.  Given his size and ability, this should not have been a problem - until he discovered that our driveway sloped toward the garage.  He would take the bike to the edge of the driveway and zoom down, threading his way between our two parked cars and coasting to a stop just before the front wall of the garage.  This is a move he executed perfectly EVERY time.  Even with considerable "boy" experience, it made me nervous.

Then there was the time I took him for a ride in the Bugger connected to my bike.  As we went up a hill (a small one, even by Illinois standards), Bryce encouraged from behind, "Go faster, Granma!"  One of us was not amused, the other was disappointed...

Ready to ride?
I am spending this week riding my bike amongst the corn fields of Iowa on RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) along with my brother Bruce, son Corey, and 14,000 of our closest friends.  And by "closest" I mean the roads will be jammed with bicycles!  A little over 400 miles in the course of a week, we will traverse the state from west to east.  On the same trip last year, we rode alongside a grandfather and his granddaughter on a tandem bike.  It was their first RAGBRAI experience as a team.

It got me wondering - Bryce, do you think we could we make the trip?  Hmmm - maybe.  I think I'll put him up front and tell him to go faster.  I think he owes me that much!

Greetings from the tall corn in the great state of Iowa!

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