Man rose up on his hind legs, walked, ran, invented the wheel, and eventually the bicycle. It was only a matter of time before the stroller gave way to evolutionary pressure.
Despite my concerns regarding safety, Nelly convinced me it was time for us to invest in a bicycle trailer for our little family. We would not only extend our engine-free range, but we would also add enough capacity to haul up to one hundred pounds of groceries. Sold!
Dylan (aka Baby Boots), our eighteen month old son, hated his new bicycle helmet and screamed the entire time he was buckled into the trailer. This lasted for two days, until Boots fell in love with his buggy.
He now gets excited and assumes we are going for a bike ride every time we open the garage door, saying “Helm, helm, buckle?” in wide-eyed anticipation.
We loaded up the trailer and set out on an adventure into North Fargo the other day, making sure to pack a poncho due to the threatening clouds of rain. We crossed the toll bridge (bikes ride free!), made our way through Trefoil Park, and continued north to Trollwood.
My son spotted the playground equipment and it was on like Donkey Kong. We played for an hour in the lightest of rains, and had a great time running and exploring the park that I remember most from my childhood visits to Fargo. A few sprinkles were not about to dampen our fun, but once it began to really pound down on the yellow brick road it was time to head for home.
Donning my poncho and an attitude of perseverance, I began pedaling into the wind and rain. Things were going well until they started to go wrong. Then they got worse.
We were near Longfellow Elementary School when a solar-powered crosswalk light caught my eye and I started thinking long thoughts about how we are all pulling together and will surely find our way out of the energy crisis wilderness.
Some of us are choosing to live closer to our jobs, utilizing public transportation, or downsizing to more fuel efficient cars. Others are thinking bigger by working on long term solutions such as an electric grid powered largely by renewable and clean energy sources. And here was a solar powered crosswalk light next to an elementary school, a powerful symbol of positive change in my mind.
A car sped toward us, and then ominously slowed down. “Why don’t you get on the fu*king sidewalk!” yelled a young motorist out of his passenger side window. I saw red and gestured for him to pull over so that I could explain exactly why I was not “on the fu*king sidewalk”. Luckily he was not actually interested in my response, which would almost certainly have been of the nonverbal variety. Anger obscured my reason as jumbled thoughts raced through my now mostly useless brain.
How could he not understand the threat that my rig would pose to pedestrians on the sidewalk? How could he not see that he was supporting terrorism and the destruction of our environment by not riding a bicycle himself?
Even with the bicycle trailer attached, I take up about half the width of a parked car on the side of the road, and I doubt that this counterrevolutionary young man bothers to roll down his windows in the pouring rain to yell at all the parked cars that are in his way.
“What about generational accountability?” I thought. “I refuse to pass on the true cost of my lifestyle to my child as previous generations have done. The buck stops here!”
Up ahead I saw the bike trail and fumed that I would gladly ride in a dedicated bike lane if one were available, but of course that would cost taxpayer funds that are needed to build new roads for new developments that are so far from existing infrastructure that Lance Armstrong would not be able to bike to work.
I was thinking so quickly and angrily that I misjudged my approach to the trail. One wheel of the buggy slammed into the curb, flipping the trailer on its side. I jumped off the bike and righted the trailer in the time it took my heart to start beating again. Baby was safe and secure in his five point harness, and did not seem to be aware that his daddy had screwed up big time.
Clarity returned and the folly of my rage was revealed. I told him that I was sorry, that it was my fault, and that I would be more careful next time. Dylan signed and said “All done,” and I agreed, wishing that it were true.
The rain slowed and then stopped as we pedaled back into Trefoil Park. The sun peeked through the clouds. A smile spread across my face.
Storms they come and go, as
Summer turns to fall and
Though the light shines not as bright the
Sunshine warms us all.
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