Tuesday, March 17, 2009

They're plotting to kill me...or drive me insane

It started off simply enough yesterday.

"Mom, what's that path over there?" Sam asked as we left the post office.

"That's the bike path."

"Can we ride our bikes there today?"

"Not today...how about tomorrow?"

"Great...right after school?"

"Sure thing."

This morning I asked my husband to load Sam's bike and his bike up in the van (I do not own a bike of my own). He seemed eager to help (I should have immediately suspected something sinister).

All day I had horrible daydreams about the myriad of ways I could kill myself on a bicycle. See, I haven't been ON a bicycle in...oh...14 years or so (except for the time I tried Steve's bike at my parents last year and discovered my "healed" ankle hurt immensely when pedaling...not to mention the pain-inducing seat up my butt). I imagined trees and sharp turns and falling down ravines into streams. My nerves were shot by the end of the day, but I soldiered on and resigned myself to life in a body cast beginning before sundown.

I unloaded the bikes and Sam was ready to go go go! I hopped on my bike and pedaled a good three or four times to try to get up some speed to catch up to him. And that is when the fun really began. I turned the handlebars just fine. Trouble was, they weren't tightened onto the front wheel and there was no steering resulting from my efforts. And while they didn't actually come off in my hands, the result was pretty much the same as if I were riding a bike with completely unattached handlebars in my hands. Except if I were riding a bike with completely unattached handlebars in my hands, I would be aware of their inability to steer. This was a complete surprise...and not a good one.

So I tried to stop. HA! The brakes didn't work!

So what does any fat mama who hasn't been on a bike in 14 years do in such a situation? Why...fall over as gracefully as possible. Hey...it worked. I stopped.

So...I call my husband and ask him if he had checked the bicycle before loading it in the van this morning. What do you think he said?

"Oh no! It must have come loose during the winter. But everything seemed ok this morning when I loaded it in the van."

"Did you actually sit on it and try it?"

(crickets chirping)

"You should only need a crescent wrench to tighten it down."

"And is there a crescent wrench in the van?"

"I don't think so." (There wasn't)

So we pack everything up and head home to find a crescent wrench.

This is a crescent wrench...

This is an allen wrench...

That's all I will say.

So after an hour of trying to find the right tool, deciding to add air to the tires, and fixing the brakes myself (heck yeah, I'm superwoman!), we discovered the air pump we have does not work (leaving the tire completely flat). So...we headed off to find an air pump.

The first and third place didn't have air pumps. The second place had one, but there was a quarter jammed in the machine and it wouldn't work. Upon making this discovery, Sam and I just started to laugh hysterically. The universe obviously did not want us to go for a bike ride. At the fourth place, clear across town, we finally found an air pump that worked! Fifty cents for two minutes of air...highway robbery...but we were desperate at that point. Three attempts and one dollar later (yeah, do the math and laugh...you try to get an auto air pump in between the spokes of a child's bike without giving yourself a blast of air in the face...and just as you have it situated the darn thing runs out of time...more than once), we had a decent amount of air in the tire and Sam had learned a whole new colorful vocabulary.

Next stop, the drivethru. Let me say this...chicken nuggets and green ice cream do a lot to soothe the irritated St. Patrick's Day bicycling soul.

Two and a half hours after initially setting out, we finally hit the trail.

Ever bicycled with a six year old?

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

We made it .7 miles one direction before I lost patience and made him turn back.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, stop.

I walked my bike most of the way because I couldn't take it.

We made it back to the van, loaded up the bikes, and Steve and Myles pulled into the parking lot.

You know how they say no good deed goes unpunished?

"I want to ride home with Daddy!"

A good cry later, I cranked the radio and decided to boycott cooking tonight, in favor of corned beef and cabbage from the local family restaurant.

Tonight I go to bed with a butt cheeks, work roughened hands, sore thighs, and major abdominal gas pains. But Steve also now knows the difference between a crescent wrench and an allen wrench...and I can fix bicycle brakes.

And I'm still alive. HA! I win!


sarahbobeara said...

so you'll be volunteering steve for the next bicycle outing?? :) and does sam now appreciate proper bicycle maintenance? or at least know the difference btwn an allen & crescent wrench? when everything doesn't work out as planned, i guess fall back on the teachable moments. hope your butt feels better ;)

Pipsylou said...

You are one HELL of a story teller. I can just picture it all! :)