4.12.2011

Raining today... not raining yesterday or the day before





it is raining...
this morning I woke to the gray sky and the gentle rain
as the boys got dressed I thought about the bike
while finishing making lunches and barking orders to the boys to eat... put on their shoes... pack their backpacks
I made my decision no bikes today

we are not trying to be "car free" we are trying to live "car lite"
the bikes were brought in the car at drop off in the am yesterday which allowed for me to ride my bike to school to get the boys from school rather than driving

so... after school yesterday we went to the park around the corner from school and I pulled a soccer ball from the Bob Trailer and lead the boys in some "structured play"
when I go to the park with the boys
I let them run free, but I also like to guide them in some activities

upon arrival at the park I passed
with the boys... then we did some "throw ins"... some "head balls" and then a little more passing before I let the boys do their own thing
then after some time I grabbed my o
lder son and his friends and taught them how to play "hot box" or maybe you know it as "pickle"

the kids today are different than the kids of my era
when I was in grade school we organized our own games
we held our own races
hosted our own mini Olympics
played pick up games of the sport of the seas
on

now... no
w most kids do not do these things unless someone is there to hold their hand
I try to start t
he games and then walk away
sometimes the games fall apart shortly after I walk away
other times the games maintain

yesterday was hot... hot and dry unseasonably hot... summertime hot
we were all feeling it

after a decent game of "pickle" it was time to go
other kids were starting to leave so we followed that momentum
on the bikes we
took the less than direct route home avoiding dropping into "the park" which then allows us to avoid having to climb out of "the park"
9 year old Dean has no issue
with the climb out of Rock Creek Park while 7 year old Grant often gets frustrated...
so to keep it fun I find that the longer route that avoids dropping into "the park" makes for a much more fun experience

our ride was nothing special... except for the fact that it is somewhat special
it is not everyday that a
father gets to ride his bicycle with his seven and nine year old sons especially on a school day

the day prior we rode as well... a family ride


the weekend can often be a conundrum... what to do? how do we entertain the kids?

my morning was occupied with a ride... a trip out to City Bikes in Chevy Chase to meet with the manager there... and then coffee with an old friend
followed by a ride back
while at City Bikes I ran into another father from my son's school

this man was picking up his freshly tuned up bicycle so that he could take a family trip to The Kite Festival on The Mall

FANTASTIC IDEA!
such a great idea that I made a quick call to Lisa and planted the seed


when I got home I found that Lisa and Dean were agreeable to the notion of The Kite Festiva
l on The Mall
while Grant was not interested... somewhere in the discussion Grant picked up on the noti
on that there may not be enough wind for flying kites... so he held onto that idea as the backbone of his argument
so I modified our options while maintaining our trajectory

we would load kites in the wheel barrow of the Franken-Bakfiet

if the Kite Festival does not steal our attention
if there appears that there is not enough wind for kite flying

we will continue to Haines Point where we will either play miniature golf or fly kites on the point of Haines Point
there is always wind at the point of Haines Point I pulled bikes from the garage as Lisa packed snacks and Dean filled up water bottles
Grant... well... I let Grant focus on getting himself ready
no need to battle with him when he get stubborn


on the bikes we moved as a pack
through the neighborhood of Mount Peasant on the Street
onto the sidewalk on 16th Street
a quick pass through Malcolm X Park

then onto the bike lanes on 15th Street

ah... a great day for a family bike ride

we worked our way down towards the grounds of The Washington Monument
as we got closer to the White House the sidewalks started to be more and more congested with tourist traffic
I forgot that it is Tourist Season... bummer... I forgot my gun... I love hunting tourists
okay... I do not have a gun... but I do enjoy the play on the term "tourist season"

the streets were as congested as the sidewalks

the tourists moved in that zombie frontal lobotomy way that tourist move in
the Franken-bakfiet does not like to go too slow... so I powered through the crowds...
zigging and zagging... asking for safe passage
Dean and I weaved our way through the madness as a pair
while Lisa and Grant worked their way through at a slightly less aggressive pace

sure enough...
there was not enough wind to even consider assembling our kids
a smaller kite would have worked... but not our larger kites

so... with nothing more than a slight pause we looped the Washington Monument and its crowds and pushed our way to Haines Point

the congestion only increased

more cars on the street

more people on the sidewalks

MADNESS I TELL YOU!

we arrived at the Haines Point golf course and ate some snacks before playing a round of miniature golf
not sure of the score
not sure who won
but I think it is a toss up


after we were done our 18 holes of mini golf it was back on the bike


reversing our path we worked our way through the city
again... fighting our way through the masses of people
then finding sanctuary on the Bike Lanes
again... moving as a pack we cut across the city

on 16th Street along side of Malcolm X Park Grant dismounted while Dean sprinted to the top
with Lisa by Grant's side I chased Dean

at the top of the hill I asked Dean if he wanted to check out the drum circle in the park
figuring we could loop the interior of Meridian Hill Park and meet up with Lisa and Grant after they walk the hill

when we got to the drum circle Dean's jaw dropped
he let his bike and helmet fall to the ground and he stood in amazement at the spectacle in front of him
it looked like try outs for the circus or maybe a casting call for Jesus Christ Superstar

jugglers juggling balls... bowling pins... whatever

all sorts of people hula hooping
devils sticks and other hippie toys
then some Cirque Du Soliel sort of Yoga acrobats
it was really something

then I broke Dean from his trance and pointed him to the action just to his left

between two trees was a "slack line"
a group of guys were walking on a low hanging tight rope

I did not need to ask Dean twice if he wanted to try it
his shoes were off and he was in the queue before I could ask if he could try it

the hosts were beyond welcoming
it was a friendly gathering open to anyone and everyone

they were more than willing to allow my enthusiastic son to join in on their fun

I grabbed my cell to give Lisa a heads up... we would be in the park for a bit...
no answer... I left a message
this was too good of an opportunity for young Dean

not sure how long we stayed
I am certain that we could have stayed longer

Dean had far greater success on the "slack line" than I did
but I enjoyed the setting just the same

Sunday was a magical day... and the bicycle was a part of it

today it is raining
but we have the events of the days prior to carry us through the gray

today there was no bike drop off
but... we did park nearly a mile from school where I was able to walk and talk with my boys
as we walked we move as fast as the line of cars along side of us

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