There is an evening Michigan chill in the air as we leave the restaurant. Without coats, it's going to be a chilly ride home. That's one area of thinking you have to adjust when you switch to pedal power. You don't have air conditioning, heat, automatic windows, heated seats or a stash of extra coats and blankets hidden in the stow-and-go. You've got the clothes on your back, some cash, maybe a lipstick in your pocket, a helmet and some water.
We coast out of the parking lot, hugging the right hand side of the busy street as we push for home. We've got a lagging child and I cycle back, moving to the end of our caravan of 5 cycles and 1 trail-a-bike pedaler, to find him huffing, puffing and sweating a little in the cool breeze. He's tired, winded and uncomfortable. Getting around by pedal power is much harder than it sounds, especially when you're not used to using those muscles. I help him adjust the gears of his mountain bike and pedal onward, hoping we get home before the temperature drops too much further.
About 6 weeks ago, I made the commitment to cycle more, get back to taking time for myself and my family. We ride a few times a week, putting in anywhere from 20-30 miles a week. Our youngest son, pedaling his trail-a-bike behind Dad is thrilled. We've dubbed Sundays - CYCLE SUNDAY, and either ride to breakfast or lunch and sometimes again for ice cream in the evenings. Early on Sunday mornings, he races into our room telling us he's ready to bike to breakfast, let's go, let's go!
Deciding if we should eat out, take the kids for ice cream or grab a morning coffee takes a little more thought and planning when you are heading out on two wheels (or in my family's case 11 wheels!) Everyone needs a helmet! Did anyone put the dog in the crate? Who needs a water bottle? Yes, you need a jacket - it's going to be cold by the time we head for home. Remember! Stay to the right, watch for cars, stay together!!
Yes, our trips take longer. It takes a good hour and a half to grab and ice cream or a coffee, but what we get in return was worth the time. No cell phones, no radio blaring in the van, no arguments over who's going to ride "shot gun". We smell lilacs, we guess how many miles it is to the local library, the older boys dare each other to jump the speed bumps by the golf course, but no one has actually been nervy enough to give it a go. Our youngest is getting so comfortable pedaling behind Dad, he barks out directions to the older boys. We're going to turn here! Watch out for the pot hole! Not too much longer now!
Cycling is good for the environment, yes. It's good for your lungs, your heart and your muscles too, of course. We started the adventure to get a little exercise, save a little gas money and do a little good for the environment. What we got back was so much more! Why not start your Cycle Sunday (or Monday, or Tuesday...) today? You never know what adventure you will find around the next corner!