This week, my eldest son, Max (pictured above), began summer camp, which is of no particular import to you cycle-centric readers, except that it presents a new wrinkle in the ever-evolving tapestry of my one-car, two-job, two-child, multi-city family commute. Until now, Max went to pre-school in Middletown, which meant that my dear wife, who works in Middletown, could take him there and pick him up in our dear car. Now, however, he is at camp right in our home-suburb of West Hartford, so on days when I am not working in Bridgeport, it make sense for me to take him by bike and then go to the office. This has presented a couple of unexpected challenges.
First, it's a long ride. According to Google Maps, my route (see below) is exactly six miles, which I wouldn't think twice about by myself. But I didn't anticipate how much slower the going would be with a five-year-old in tow. The answer is, a lot slower. It takes me about 45 minutes.
Second, my much vaunted second seat, which I constructed so I could cart Max around on the back of my Raleigh Twenty in style, has a fatal flaw: It requires him to hold on, and after the first day of camp, he was so exhausted that he started to get drowsy on there. I was looking down and to the side to see the shadow of his helmeted head, and it started to loll this way and that, and he wasn't answering me, so I stopped and he was in fact asleep. Still holding on, but asleep. So I had to shoulder the sleeping child and walk the bike for several miles, which sucked.
Third, there is practically no way to get where I have to go without traveling along busy, highway-esque streets. By myself, I would not care about this, but with the next generation in tow, I'm a little more conscious of the narrowness of roads and the heedless proximity of busy drivers (to say nothing of the jokers who cut me off and do other crazy stuff, when it is very obvious that I have a goddamn child trailer).
Has all of this deterred me? It has not. Has it made me sweaty and late to work? Sure. But not that sweaty and not that late. And Max is very very proud of the fact that he is the only kid who arrives by bicycle, which is a good sentiment and signals that his nascent values are good and should be encouraged. (Then again, he often expresses the same level of pride in the size of his poops, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into it.)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Posted by El Presidente de China at 9:43 AM