Getting Back On Track

So I have been slipping recently when it comes to daily posts. I have something special in the works, but I won’t ruin the surprise yet. So to get this train moving again let’s read a story together. This one comes from about a little boy’s first commute.

Isaac and his Skuut bike cheer on riders at a cyclocross race. (Linda Thorpe)

By Erica Miller Yozell

“I want to ride my bike to school today.”

I looked over at my son standing there holding his helmet and looking determined. I smiled. “Okay, sure.”

My son is 2 ½ years old.

As I helped him put on his helmet and gloves, I tried to act like this was no big deal, but the mother and cyclist in me were jumping up and down with joy. I put on my own helmet and finished hooking our Burley trailer onto my Bianchi commuter bike. I decided to ride with the Burley so if Isaac got tired, I could pull him and his bike the rest of the way to daycare.

He didn’t get tired. And it was the most fun morning commute I’ve ever had.

For me on my bike, the trip takes five minutes. For Isaac and I, it was a 30-minute ride. We took the sidewalks instead of the street, and curbs and street crossings took more effort and care for a little guy on small wheels. Isaac rides a Skuut bike—a wooden-framed, two-wheeled, no-pedals bike that lets him experience the joys of coasting and balance while propelling himself with his feet on the ground. It goes on and off the road, and he loves the freedom.

The best part about the trip wasn’t watching him expertly coast down a hill, make a turn, and slow himself by dragging his toes on the ground. It wasn’t being impressed by him making it up the gradual climb at the end of the ride. It wasn’t even the relief that he was as careful about street crossings and cars as I was. The best part was the conversation.

With Isaac in the lead, I got to experience the world with him, on his terms. Just like a car driver misses a lot of things a cyclist notices, he saw things I zip by or take for granted. We talked about how traffic signals work. He pointed out a tiny crocus blooming in the corner of someone’s yard. We talked about how big and scary tractor-trailer trucks are up close – and how polite and careful the driver was as he waved us forward, well out of the way, before making the turn. We talked about trains. We talked about ducks. We laughed as we made silly turns through trees in the park, just before arriving to daycare.

What could be better?

When I picked him up at the end of the day, he pulled his helmet and bike out of the back of the trailer, declaring, “I ride my bike home.” And he did.

Written by Chris Belsole

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