Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Bicycle Ride With My Family

Today we made a picnic lunch then packed the cooler - and our kids - in the bike trailer, and headed out for a bike ride. There is a new bicycle/walking trail that connects our city with the city just to the north of us. We knew where the trail started, but were not sure where it let out, or how long it was. My hubby attached his GPS to his handle bars, so we could measure distance.

It was gorgeous weather for a bike ride, around 70-75F (21-24C), with a nice breeze/wind. We rode through the countryside, farms, fields, etc...and eventually came to a wooden bridge. It was quite a long bridge. I could smell the wood as we biked across it; it reminded me of Finland. I took in every breath and enjoyed the sights (swamp, trees, the train tracks running parallel to it, etc...). The bridge ended, and we hit the asphalt trail again.

Soon we hit a road. The trail ended. The road straight ahead turned to gravel just ahead. So, we went to the right. As we stopped to decide where to go next, we were lucky to hear a train approaching! We parked our bikes so the kids could watch the train. I love these small towns where we can watch the trains 'close up'!

After the rails cleared, we crossed to see what was ahead. Turns out it went to the old highway, that now hooks up to the new highway. Hmmm...not a safe place to ride. So, we turned around and went the direction that would be taking a left off of the bike trail. There was no shoulder to the road, so we had to ride on the road and pull into the grass/gravel on the side when a car came by. We soon turned on a residential road, and followed it for a bit, chose another road to turn on, then searched for a place to stop and eat lunch.

We kept riding and found out that the road went to another busy road, with no sidewalk, so we decided to go back to a church that we had seen among the houses in the neighborhood. We pulled in and there was a police car. The officer was gearing up to go out on his bike. He greeted us and said 'hi' to the kids, then gave them Junior Police Officer badge stickers. My son was talkative and my daughter was shy. :-)

We found a nice tree shaded area and had our lunch. The kids played around a bit, then decided to head for home. The GPS battery was running low, so we made a note of our distance since it likely wouldn't last until we got home. The ride home seemed to go a bit quicker, but we were starting to feel it in our legs.

After we crossed the wooden bridge, we came across a turtle. We stopped to check it out and the kids loved it! We didn't want them to scare it, but we let them get down and get a closer look. I think it was looking for shade because it kept running under the bike trailer. I moved the trailer and then it would go running again - I don't think I've ever seen a turtle run so fast! Ok, so I haven't seen many turtles-maybe they all do that? We moved on and then made our way back home.

We ended up riding close to 15 miles (24km), and were out and about for nearly 3 1/2 hours. With A LOT of hills. I should call myself lucky that the bike trailer works better on my husband's bike...I don't know what the kids weigh, but I'm guessing close to 30 pounds each (13.6kg) - so that is 60 pounds (27.2kg) of kids, plus several pounds for the trailer, and our cooler (thankfully soft-sided), and the first aid kit, etc. This was a great test of his endurance! (I do take the kids out when my hubby isn't home - and it really makes me realize how hilly our city is! I always have in my mind the phrases "slow and steady wins the race" and "I think I can, I think I can...".)

All in all it was a GREAT day! I do have to say though, that I was a bit disappointed that the trail just dumped us out onto a fairly busy road with no sidewalks. I thought it would bring us closer into 'downtown'. Maybe the trail is not completed yet??? We decided next time that we'll just ride to the end, and turn around. It is a 2 mile ride to get to the starting point of this trail, and there is a great playground/park across the street from this point so maybe next time after we come back we will have a picnic at that park, play for a while, then enjoy the 2 mile ride home.

On a side note, my husband will be participating in the Mud Run MS Twin Cities on Saturday, September 10th. It is a 10k (6.2 mile) race through a military style obstacle course made of mud. Two of his cousins who live in Missouri recently participated in this, in their area. One of the cousins formed the team for the Mud Run in the Twin Cities, so my hubby and brother-in-law have joined his team. This will be the first time the guys here have participated in an event like this. I think our hilly bike rides with the kids is just the first step in preparing his body for this. If anyone is interested in joining in, or making a donation - please click here. There will be plenty of pictures and stories to tell after he completes this! My sister-in-law and I will definitely be on the sidelines with cameras in hand!

p.s. What better way to end a day full of bike riding excitement than with a rib eye steak for dinner?

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