Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Biking and spina bifida

The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Friday and I was so incredibly happy to have taken the day off from work.  It was sunny and 79 degrees, not hot and not chilly.  Just perfection.  I wanted to take advantage of the weather so that morning, I asked the girls if they would be up for a bike ride away from home that afternoon.  There's a bike "path" located approximately a half mile from our house.  I guess it really is a path because it's pretty short and if you're looking to actually bike more than a few miles, this is not the place to be.  People use it for walking, biking, running, roller-stuff, etc.  While it's great having this near us, it's not so easy to get there.  The first .3 miles is quiet, residential streets with sidewalks.  The remaining .2 miles is on a narrow, windy road with no sidewalk, no shoulder and drivers who don't obey the speed limit.

The whole outing almost didn't happen because the tires on my bike were flat, but I finally managed to get the air pump to work.  Anyone else remember having to use a manual air pump?  Ah, the good ol' days.  The girls were bummed when I told them we may not be able to go so I told them I would run if I couldn't get air in the tires.  Thank goodness it didn't come to that because I am not in any shape for running.

We had a peaceful ride through the quiet side street and then we hit the last .2 miles.  Here are the rules I set out:
  • We walk the bikes, not ride them
  • We walk single file, with me first, against traffic
  • We walk in the grass, not on the street (no shoulder)
  • We stop walking when cars are coming so we don't accidentally trip, drop our bikes out onto the street, etc.

Well, this last rule was a mistake because some drivers saw us stop and then they stopped and I was all like, move along, people, MOVE ALONG.

We made it past the first house, which took about 10 minutes, because Anna couldn't keep up.  Instead of walking her bike and moving the handlebars so that the wheel moved where she wanted the bike to move, she would drag the bike sideways, which caused her to exclaim, "But the bike is so heavy," over and over.  I decided to walk my bike with my right hand and her bike with my left hand.  After what seemed like a half hour, we finally made it to the bike path.  I don't feel particularly safe on that road when I'm running it by myself and I was hoping that we wouldn't cross paths with any cars, which sometimes happens.   

Once on the path, we all relaxed and had a nice bike ride.  Anna still has the training wheels on her bike and she's not as strong so she's slower.  I also discovered that she needed air in her front tire, which I'm sure didn't help the situation.  I told Emily and Allie they could ride ahead.  That part of the path is straight and wasn't crowded so I could see them even if they were a quarter of a mile ahead of me.  We stopped after a mile for a water break and then it was time to head back.

Anna did not do so well on the return trip.  She was wearing these little sunglasses, which Emily referred to as granny glasses, and just looking at her cute face with those sunglasses, pedaling with all her might.  Gah, my heart just about split open.  She was trying so hard.  She kept asking me why I wasn't hot.  "Because my bike is barely moving."  We stopped a few times because she was overheating (side effect of her meds) so I splashed some water on her and let her rest.  We were getting close to the street/walking portion and I just wanted to get her home.  There was a minor incident with an unleashed dog that delayed us but at least the walking portion on the street wasn't as scary because only a few cars drove past us.

Once we hit the sidewalks, Allie and Emily rode ahead but Anna kept walking.  I walked both her bike and mine for last half mile home.  She was too tired to bike and honestly, she was probably too tired to walk but there wasn't any alternative.  I had jokingly told the girls earlier that this was training for Disney.  When we were almost home, Anna told me that she wasn't going to be able to do walk Disney.

When all was said and done, we covered 3 miles.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to do that again by myself with them in the near future.  It was too much for Anna.  In the back of my mind, I knew it would be difficult for her but she welcomed the challenge.  You never what you can do unless you try.


Mrs. G said...

Have you thought of purchasing a gator bar? That way when she is tired you can pull her and her bike with your bike. We have a trail-a-bike for our son and its a separate bike for him to ride but in the place of the front tire its a long metal bar that connects to my bike and I just pull him along. He is able to pedal when he wants or take a break when he is tired.

lm said...

Yes or we have a tandem bike which is great for my 6 year old. they can keep up and choose whether to pedal or take a break

Kate said...

I was going to suggest the same thing! Or maybe a strider bike, depending on how her balance is?

Sarah said...

Thank you for the suggestions! The gator bar would probably work best for us. We'll have to test out some options.