Autumn Family Ride
by Jennifer Christiansen
At the risk of sounding like one of those credit card commercials, here are the stats from my recent bike ride.
- 6 kids with helmets and gear (We’re talking two separate families here.)
- 2 grumpy husbands assigned to load the cars (apparently the hardest task ever undertaken by man. Harder than say, building the Great Wall of China.)
- 2 moms playing the role of cheerleaders
- 1 beautiful trail in Park City, Utah
And yes—if you’re wondering—it was priceless.
Just one week post-autumnal equinox, the trees were on fire. The crisp air reiterated the fact that a storm’s a brewin’ and just a day or two away—thus, the urgency to enjoy the leaves.
At one point mid-ride I suggested that my wobbly eight year old carefully take in the leaves. Without crashing, he looked back in disgust and asked, “Is that the only reason we’re on this ride?”
Oh, I can understand his point of view. I remember the days of trying to convince my fat, old parents to get out. And I do remember the leaves were usually a promising draw.
When we did venture out, our family bike rides were the stuff Norman Rockwells are made of—except for the homemade, plywood cart my dad hauled the little kids in. That was more like Cletis visits the junkyard and finds himself some perfectly good stuff he can’t believe someone threw away.
But I digress…back to the Norman Rockwell part. Imagine: Sunday afternoons, lonely country roads, picnic lunches followed by baseball games and leisurely rides home. Why wouldn’t the old folk do this every week?
I’ll tell you. It’s because two hardcore cheerleaders could barely pull it off.
There were broken tire pumps, lost bike parts, forgotten jackets, sleepy babies, and did I mention the grumpy husbands? However, I must mention that despite their grumping they managed to shove three full-sized bikes, gear, a kid trailer, and corresponding kids into a Passat. And they were able to rig the broken roof rack on the other car with a couple spare wing nuts and bubble gum. Way to go Papas! We knew you could do it. Give me a P…Give me an A…
So yes, it was an ordeal. But really, why didn’t my parents go through the rig-a-ma-roll more often? And why don’t I?
Our ride today was perfect. Imagine: Aspen leaves at their finest, autumn air at the brink of change, a six pack of happy kids, a gorgeous September moon, and of course a little pick me up for the old bag of bones. As Robert Frost penned, “Nothing gold can stay.” We had to go.
So when my kid whizzed by and declared, “I love biking! Can we do this again? Of course I said yes. I even promised him an exclusive mother son biking date, on the trail of his choice.