We caught a break in the weather here this past Sunday, so while CareerMom fretted over how she could surprise her parents that evening with a baby announcement, (the end-result being a platter of “Petite-Fours” glazed with either pink or blue icing) MLI and me decided to go on a little bike ride while MLE was napping (turns out, the moment we left, he decided “no nap!”).
I got out both of our hardly-used bikes and did a quick inspection to make sure everything worked. I mashed the brakes, pumped up the tires, checked the chains, etc. I even put the little cigarette-plug-adapter air compressor in my truck just in case we had a flat between the house and the park.
The park we go to is a 6.2 mile long concrete path. It’s roughly 12 feet across, so there’s plenty of room for rollerbladers, joggers, meandering five-year olds and more. It’s also flat, which is ideal for kiddies still learning how to ride a bike with training wheels. Leaving the snacks in the car, and taking our little water bottles with us, we started out. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were light and we weren’t listening to whiney two-year olds. Life was good.
About two miles into our ride, I spied a couple of deer across a meadow and we stopped to take a look. After oohing and aahing for a bit, we got back on our bikes, but not after my telling MLI, “Now remember, we have to go ALL the way back, so when you start getting a little bit tired, let me know.”
His little Diego bike helmet nodded in acceptance as he pedaled off yelling, “You’re so far behind me!”
Just as I caught up with him though, he slammed on his brakes and jumped off his bike. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“My seat came off.” he said.
Looking at his seat I realized it hadn’t come off, but it had come completely loose and was flopping back and forth like some kinda wet fish struggling to get back in the water.
“Well, can you balance on it and ride it back to the truck?” I asked, because though I had several sized hex wrenches in my little bike bag, what I didn’t have, which his seat required, was an adjustable wrench.
“I’ll try,” he pouted, and with that, he turned his bike around and we started home.
Allow me to pause here and explain the gravity of the situation…if he were unable to ride his bike, I was facing a 2-mile walk back to the truck pushing, more than likely, two bikes, while trying to cajole a flagging five-year old into walking the entire way.
Yep, that’s what happened.
Luckily, there was pudding waiting at the truck.
It could have been worse I suppose. After walking about 3/4 of a mile, the lil’ trooper decided that he would try, once more, to perch precariously on his flip-flopping seat in hopes of eating up the miles. Rather, after getting about 50 feet, his seat suddenly flopped forward and he, and his bike, went sprawling into the only puddle of mud within 1,000 yards.
Hilarity ensued (for me at least…he was wailing!).
The walk-push home was probably the worst. Everyone we passed, or who passed us, gave me the sympathetic “Ah, little one got tired and now you’re pushing his bike for him,” smile. I did actually ask a couple of families if they had a wrench on them, but they didn’t. And each time one of those professionally-attired bikers passes by with scads of fanny packs wrapped around their ageing bellies, I just knew that THEY were prepared for an eventuality such as this. But, they were all moving at 90 miles an hour and couldn’t be bothered.
Luckily, the walk back included numerous more deer sightings, and of course when we did finally make it back, there was pudding. So, it turned out fine in the end. But this was a good lesson learned. I’m going to get myself one of those uber-stylish bicycling fanny packs and I’m going to put my entire shop in it. Next time, I’ll be prepared!