8.16.2014

I need to approach this from a different direction... an alternate play by play


these photos are from last week
rode today with Dean
this was last weekend when I rode with Dean and Grant
today Dean did over 20 miles with one stop
last weekend we did over 27 miles with multiple stops

grant dodged the ride today
so dean and dad got some one on one time


today when riding we had an incident... actually... we had a series of incidents

on Park Road not even a mile from our house just minute on our bikes we are moving along
at the base of the hill where Park Road turns into Tilden by Pierce Mill
the light is red so we stop
we are side by side and going straight

the road narrows to a tight two lanes
there are stone walls on each side
there would be not enough room for a car to take a bicycle
so rather than risk having an aggressive car driver try to pass without enough space

I make the decision for them


the light is about to turn Green
I get Dean to come to attention
at the Green we check that it is clear then pedal forward
these are single speeds geared for dirt
so... we are pedaling fast but not moving forward all that fast

across the bridge I feel that she is following a tad close
I sit up... thus taking up more room
there is the glance back
sort of like the glance back in the theater when someone is talking

then I signal
plenty of foresight that we are turning left
thus the full lane is making even more sense
then it happens

we wait to make the safe left turn
the car behind us honks
it is clear we start the left hand turn
a woman hangs out the window and screams at me
I scream back 
she has a response that is more clever than my attack

yet she is still totally in the wrong

what an awful start to a bike ride



I could complain about the crowded paths
but it is not so much the crowds
it is the newbies with their lack of understanding of the dangers and the etiquette
lots of people offended by my son and I passing on the left

we are not moving that fast... and we are not looking to go that slow
we are not telling people that they have to match my pace
I do not feel that I need to operate at theirs
that is why I make a safe courteous pass


Rock Creek Park
today Dean and I rode into Virginia onto the Mount Vernon Trail
lunch at Pentagon Row
very different than the usual loops




Ten Year Old Grant Sets the Pace on his Cyclocross Bike
Dean and Dad Chase on Single Speed Mountain Bikes
27 Miles

MY BOYS ROCK!
yes... 27 miles for a 10 year old is impressive



it is not uncommon for me to offer up a "play by play" of my ride or race
this play by play may start with a vivid description of the blueberries in my Cheerios 
then a minute by minute mile by mile account of my drive to the trailhead or the race parking lot
this being a ride with my kids I can go through a play by play of the morning
the need to walk the dog... the need to finish the laundry... the effort to get the kids to take out the trash and recycling...  a description of the shockingly perfectly crisp over microwaved bacon
or perhaps as in this case... 
battle to get the boys on their bikes
okay... on this day there was no battle
Dean and Grant had been away for a week and were out of practice weaseling out of my force marches or mandatory bicycle rides
dean and grant suited up in what they deemed appropriate... the boys rounded up helmets... filled water bottles and then rode their bikes from around back to the sidewalk out front and waited for me
in the vacant slot by the fire hydrant I gathered with the boys 

gave them a pep talk about our ride
some catch phrase like "be smart\be safe"
the requisite order "no crashing"
we waited for the downhill cars to pass

then when there were no cars in sight, the light at the top of the hill had a Red Turn arrow,  and it was safe to pull out
I sent the boys ahead
Grant first... then Dean... and then me

the boys rode in the bike lane and I was riding right outside the line of the bike lane
this spot is not only outside the door zone
but my actions this far outside the bike lane and into the road acts as a moving pick
blocking for my kids
it is a ten and a 13 year old boy
there are lots of things that can happen

something could happen and they could cause them to respond inappropriately

they could swerve to dodge a person stepping out from in between cars

they could crash because they were spooked and hit their brakes too hard
kids on bikes deserve more space
in general people do not give people on bikes enough space
life should be a case by case basis
each person should be passed accordingly
when I drive my car I take all sorts of factors into account
if I am driving down the road and I see pedestrians on the sidewalk I try to take a measure of their intent
are they going to try and cross the street in front of me?
how are they behaving? is there a child that may step off the sidewalk into the street?
is there a dog that may extend the leash and step out into the street?
I may not alter my speed but I definitely alter my attention
we are less than a quarter mile from our house
the bike lane disappears after the bridge
I am still riding a little less than all the way to the right while trying to create a warning and a buffer for the young cyclists ahead
I hear a honk... not totally obnoxious but not as gentle as a honk can be
then a car passes
not excessively fast and not excessively close
but not excessively far... maybe within the three feet range
after passing me the driver of this Prius started moving back over the right
passing Dean just as close as he passed me
then passing Grant as close as he passed me
I would like people to pass my kids with a greater berth
more than three feet would be nice
we continue down the road... at the base of the hill there are a line of cars
there is a red light
the car that just passed us is obnoxiously all the way to the right
more to the right than most anyone would ever be unless they were trying to block passage to the right
no room for us to scoot past
if I were without the kids I would have passed him on the left

but I do not see a need to get in front of him
I would rather have him get on his way away from me and my family

the light turns green and we pace behind the Prius
traffic is such that we move the same rate as the environmentally friendly Toyota

a couple hundred more feet on the road and I prep the kids to get ready to take the right off the road onto the 20 yard path that feeds onto the Closed to Cars section of Beach Drive just north of the gate

at the crosswalk we start our turn
the path is narrow but two way
there is room for us to go but there is a woman standing over he bike... not trying to cross... just standing there eating a power bar... I say, "hey, how about refueling somewhere else?"

to which she responds, "Jackass"


my information was helpful... helpful to her and helpful to those looking to use the space that she is occupying
she did not want my input
she preferred to just bark at me and stand there blocking the path when she could be standing in the shade on the grass out of the way of people running, pushing their strollers, riding their bikes, hiking their dogs.... all trying to cross the street

















he obstruction is just an unnecessary variable 

her calling me a jackass was a topic of conversation with both Dean and Grant throughout the 27 mile ride
Grant having impressions why she whispered things instead of shouting things
Dean thinking that my suggestion was presented in a civil\constructive way and that she over reacted




Lisa took the boy to Santa Fe New Mexico
it sounded like they had a good time
my time without them was idle
knocked out some adult stuff... but did not do anything eventful
in fact... I did basically nothing other than work and sleep



 Lisa and the boys returned from their Southwest adventure late Saturday Night
the boys were all excited to be home
there were all sorts of stories of hikes, horseback rides, mud baths, and of course great southwestern food



it pleased to have the boys back within arms reach

parenting is a strange Catch 22
kids drive their parents crazy
but the parents go crazy when they are not around



go figure...




Saturday Night I may have been asleep before the boys... I had to fight going to bed before they got home




Sunday Morning came and the boys were in the comfort of their own beds

I did not rush the start of their day
my morning involved the requisite walking of the dog
then I finished my power washing project 



with the dog walked and the front sidewalk\porch and back deck looking showroom new after being power washed I was ready to start my day

I had made mention to the boys that we would be doing a bike ride on Sunday



well... here it was Sunday morning about to be Sunday afternoon and it was time to take action




there was resistance

there is always resistance
I had considered taking them mountain biking
but opted to go for a road ride instead
as I was not interested in the whole driving to and from the trailhead



ah... I issued some orders and then started gathering bicycles

"suit up to ride bikes... find your helmets... fill a water bottle... and eat a snack!"



the boys were of course slow to get motivated

they did not want to be pulled away with what they were doing
but... I barked at them the same list of orders



computer lids closed like clam shells and the boys started to move




I left out the back and headed to the garage

the garage much like the basement is in need of some cleaning
well... organizing and purging



bikes bikes bikes

bikes... bikes... bikes
bikes bikes bikes



I pulled out a bike for Dean and a bike for Grant

both bikes needed air in the tires and lube on the chain
Grant's bike needed a tightening of the the handlebars
these things are not major... but these things must be done and do take time



in between efforts I poked my head in to make sure that the boys had not been distracted

it is not uncommon for the boys just like adults to be drawn into something other than the immediate task at hand



yes... the bikes should already be ready

sure... I had all week to air up the tires and lube the chains
but I did not
so... as much as I had tried to rush the boys
the boys had to wait



finally we were on our bikes

there were no complaints
but Dean did give me that helpless, "dad... I am hungry" just as we were about to leave from home
sure I had given him and his brother each a banana to fuel up with 
yet somehow he managed to drop it
not sure why... but Dean waited out front with his bike rather than getting a snack to satiate his hunger



on the bikes and down the hill...

they are people not puppets
yet I try to control their actions to keep them free of danger
down the hill towards Rock Creek Park 
on the bikes for not even 5 minutes and we are already be harassed by some jerk-off in a Prius 



my boys ride to the right of the lane

I ride a little closer to center
my aim is to block for my kids
if the car needs to go around me then they will be going even wider away from my boys



I refrain from cussing

I keep my fingers to myself
the car is too far in the distance for me to spit on the windshield
if the car were not sitting all the way to the right of the lane... we would have passed this car at the Red Light at the bottom of the hill
instead we get behind the obnoxious driver and take the right hand turn after them\
no need to give this asshole another chance to put my boys' lives at risk



just a quarter mile of road and we will be on the section of Beach Drive that is closed to cars on weekends

we ride single file on the road then we all turn one at a time onto the Bike Path 
as I turn onto the bike path there is a young woman standing at the road side eating a Power Bar... I chirp at her... "try refueling somewhere else"



she is blocking the path... she could be on the grass to the side... she could be anywhere

she is preventing people from crossing at this point
she could be anywhere... this is not the best place to be
without thinking... she says.... "jackass"
her response gave me and the boys something to talk about throughout our ride










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