Friday, August 1, 2008

Warning: Bicycles at large!

This evening my mother and I enjoyed a brisk walk together around sunset while four of my younger siblings were riding their bikes in the general vicinity. For those of you who know the place we were traversing the first couple paved miles of Cowboy Trail by Ta-Ha-Zouka Park. It was a dangerous undertaking. Mother's instructions for the bikers to stay close resulted in their perpetual doubling back to zoom past my mother and I, followed by hairpin turns behind our backs and another surge of energy sending them pedaling off to test the limits of their invisible leash. I don't know if you have ever tried to walk in the middle of four bikers all under the age of ten, half of which are riding bikes too tall for them to reach the ground with their feet and one enjoying the newfound week-old freedom of no training wheels at the astonishing age of three and half. It is a hazard zone to say the least. Emilee, with her new-found freedom, has perfected the art of balance as well as any three and half year old possibly can. Needless to say she does quite well given an open sidewalk, no conflicting bicycles, and pavement swept clean of gravel. However, the path this evening was void of any of these luxuries and dealt its share of spills to the youngest bicycler extroidinare. Countless whines presented themselves. Ironically, it was never because of the pain of falling. Rather they were the indignant cries of her consternation that Stephen and Rebecca's bicycles had the nerve to happen to be in front of hers when she ran into them. While she may own the art of balance, the department of brake usage and steering could use some improvement. Couple these facts with the reality of four bikes trying to turn around, not crash into each other and pass my mother and I all on the same path at the same time and it created a recipe for my mother and I to stay quick on our feet. The grass became my friend on more than one occasion. At one point I tried to inform Stephen that the correct etiquette was for bicycles to yield to pedestrians. I'm not sure if he heard me. Even if he had I'm not sure he would have understood the phrase as my mother so graciously pointed out. What six year old knows what a pedestrian is anyways? Despite all this the most comical moment came when Aaron returned from around the corner with the rest of the children in tow to inform my mother and I that the path was closed ahead. He deduced this information from signs that read "do not pass" and "turn around". Upon further investigation the "turn around" sign was discovered to really be a curve sign. You know the kind: the diamond yellow sign with a black arrow warning of a curve in the path. The "do not pass" sign was just that. However it was facing the opposite direction to warn bikers not to pass each other going under the bridge tunnel we had just come thru. Needless to say I told my mother I was glad none of them were near the age to drive. We will have to work on their street smarts a little before then.

Overall the evening was a success. My mother and I managed to burn off a few calories and snag bits of pleasant conversation between threatening bicycle crashes. And the casualties of the evening only amounted to one clipped finger, one spill on the gravel, and one foot used as an instant brake device. Sorry mom. Oh yeah, and the berries the kids ate without asking. I guess they weren't poisonous since they went to sleep without keeling over or retching them up. All a day in the life of my family. There is never a dull moment and I love it!

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