Sunday, June 24, 2007


The thing about having children is that everything is magnified. If you're having fun, the fun is 100 times greater with children. But anything that goes wrong or isn't otherwise perfect can also be magnified 100 times.

I'm not the most active person in the world, and the sheer effort involved in simply getting out of the house with two children, one husband, and assorted outdoors equipment is enough to send me back to bed in a fetal position.

Today's trip was an outing to the Cape Cod Canal. We brought 4 bikes, the trail-a-bike, panniers filled with lunch, our swimsuits and changes of clothing for the kids. We forgot the towels. We parked at a beach at one end of the canal, unloaded our bicycles, strapped on our helmets, and set off. My 8 year old daughter rides a bicycle she was given for her 4th birthday. She has seemingly doubled in size since then, but she refuses to get a new bike. Also, it has training wheels, and she is scared to ride without them. But she was quite the sight, bicycling with her knees nearly to her chin, her stuffed animals riding in the basket in front of her (Seal, Baby Beluga, Baxter, Melody, and Gizmo).

Meanwhile, my 5 year old, who just learned how to ride a two-wheeler with training wheels and who cried when his tricycle was sold at a yard sale last month, has graduated to the trail-a-bike that attaches to my husband's bike. He did quite well and seemed quite proud.

Halfway through the trip, my daughter got too tired to ride any more (and who can blame her? The wheels on her bike can't be more than 15" in diameter, making her 10-mile ride the most demanding of the four of us). We tried to switch the children, put my daughter on the trai-a-bike to give her a break, but the seat on my daughter's bike was too high for my son, and we couldn't find the hex wrench. Now, I don't know what a hex wrench is, but I'm told it's needed to raise and lower the seat of a bicycle. You'd think that on a beautiful weekend afternoon on a well-known bike path we'd find someone with a hex wrench, but it just wasn't a hex wrench crowd. A hex wrench crowd usually wears bike shorts, and I don't think I saw a single pair of bike shorts the whole afternoon!

Back Before Kids, my husband and I used to ride 30-40 miles a few times a month. BBK, I was also a good 20 lbs. less, coincidentally. I'd like to do 20 miles now, but we managed only 10 this time. The first leg of the ride was into a headwind, which made the riding even more difficult for my scrunched up daughter. The ride back was, in comparison, a breeze.

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