posts tagged with 'biking'

PMC report

On Saturday the boys took part in the the PMC kids ride here in town.

Zion riding with the other kids in his group

group ride

It was our fourth year taking part, and excitement was high in the days leading up to the event. Lijah kept asking if it was "this day"; he doesn't always have a clear sense of the progression of time. But eventually the day arrived, and bright and early we joined our neighbors to ride over to the middle school to kick off the festivities.

Zion, riding on two wheels for the first time in this setting, was signed up for the three-mile course. He got to ride with his friend Nicholas, and also with me, the volunteer route leader for his group (plus his little brother; Mama was otherwise occupied for the first part of the morning. It always takes a while for everyone to get organized, and energy started to flag in the hot sun. But our little team stayed focused!

Zion and Nicholas waiting on their bikes before the ride

patience required

Needless to say, once things got started Zion did great: he rode with confidence the whole way, didn't crash into anyone, and enjoyed his goldfish and ice water at the half-way point. (A snack stop in the middle of a three-mile ride is maybe not quite necessary, but it does make the whole thing feel more special; so does Mama cheering at the end of our street!)

Harvey riding under the balloon arch

the finish line

Harvey also rode with confidence, and easily finished his course despite a mechanical problem with his brand-new water bottle cage. Without a friend alongside this year, though, he was a little bored. Riding ten miles takes some time. While he was finishing up, his brothers had time to enjoy the rewards for their morning's efforts.

Zion and Lijah eating cotton candy

the real highlight of the day

Besides the cotton candy (Lijah had three) and other free foods, there was also the bounce house, slip-and-slide, tricycle obstacle course (once Lijah completed his one lap it was open to the bigger kids to enjoy too), and hula-hoop contest. And there was face paint!

Lijah showing off his face paint

tiger face

The morning ended with the raffle drawing, and for the first time in history we won something! Committing all our tickets to an otherwise unpopular item really did the trick; though I can't imagine who wouldn't want a free loaf of Nashoba Bakery bread a week for six months! Now we have that thing, plus a $50 gift certificate to a Concord farm stand. So ask us if you ever need any bread.

The ride was just one highlight of what will no doubt be a full summer of cycling. That said, now that it's out of the way Zion at least is wondering if we can, the next couple weeks, put a little more time into canoeing...

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big day tomorrow

The boys are all very excited about the day to come tomorrow. The best part is the Pan-Mass Challenge charity ride in the morning. We put in some training miles today, not that anybody needed them particularly; despite his short time on two wheels, Zion is already in peak racing shape and totally ready to dominate the three-mile course. But it was still fun to ride the part of it near our house to make sure. We also rode to the library this morning, and stopped by the bike shop to get Harvey a water-bottle cage. Absolutely essential for doing the ten-mile course on his own, unsupported by anyone except the army of route volunteers and a couple water stops (I'm abandoning him for the first time in his PMC history so I can ride with Zion; he's totally cool with that).

Then as soon as that's all over, the bigger boys will be going to one birthday party and Lijah another. The 6-year-old party has a Ninja Warrior theme, and the kids will be testing themselves on a fantastic home-built course. We got a chance to preview it this evening: it's totally awesome. There's also a bounce house. I think it's safe to say that we'll all sleep well tomorrow night.

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new frontiers in cycling

We went for a long ride with friends a couple weekends ago (notable for Zion doing over ten miles in his second week on a two-wheeler!). At our turn-around point we did a little bit of off-road riding, to make it seem like we'd gotten somewhere. Most of the kids were unenthusiastic about the rough terrain, but Harvey—on his new-to-him mountain bike—found something to love. So he asked me if we could ride some trails together. Which we did Sunday afternoon.

Harvey riding uphill in the woods

on the trails

He attacked the climbs ferociously (as pictured above), enthused about finding the best line between roots and rocks, and worked on building courage for steep descents. (His mechanic gets most of the blame for his nervousness: in typical Archibald fashion, he only has one set of working brakes at the moment.) We did probably a mile in the woods, trying to find the funnest spots, and then maybe four more riding to and from the trail. Maybe more, who knows?! We were out for two hours.

I don't know how much time we'll find for trail riding in our busy schedule, but Harvey is already a fan. On our hike on Monday he noticed a particularly smooth, rolling section of singletrack and pointed out how much fun it would be to ride it. Yes, yes indeed.

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Zion growing up

Zion learned to ride his bike yesterday. It was a tough sell on my part... it's been over a year since I started encouraging him, with two or three false starts at training programs. Unlike Harvey—who started cycling on his own at 5—he wasn't feeling very self-motivated. But now that he's 7 I'm about done with carrying him, so I've been encouraging him a little more vigorously. Yesterday I was so grumpy I told him he had to just go out and practice for half an hour, with no whining. That was enough.

Zion riding down the street

he can do it!

Most of the time I'm happy to let the kids set their own pace for their learning and development. In this case though, I knew that Zion would be so proud and delighted with himself when he finally figured it out that pushing him felt worth it. I was delighted this evening when he called to a friend, "I don't like scootering any more, I just like biking!" Despite it being a blazing hot day he headed out three or four times to ride up and down the street—that's after our mile-long ride around the big block this morning (with many stops). Next up: the three-mile course at the PMC kids ride!

Besides his cycling accomplishments, Zion also lost his first two teeth in the last week and a half. He's felt pretty grown up lately in a lot of ways, and now his grown-up teeth make it official. Of course, as the kid who declared he wanted to be the baby again when Lijah got bigger he's still holding onto some little-kid tricks too. Good thing he's cute enough to pull it off most of the time! I'm happy to let him be the baby as much as he wants; a baby who can ride his own bike is the best kind there is!

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freedom!

Lijah in the cargo bike in the snow

out and about!

After two solid weeks of below freezing (often below zero!) temperatures, and a couple of blizzards (well, almost blizzards) it was nice to feel a little warmth again the past couple days. Monday it almost hit freezing, and yesterday it blew past the freezing mark to reach the high 30s for a few hours. Positively tropical. We celebrated by getting the bikes out for the first time in quite a while.

Past time, too: our destination was the library, where we had many overdue books to return. But never mind the fines, it was lovely to be out and about under our own power again. It would have been lovely had the sidewalks been better cleared; going uphill we needed to be in the roadway or we wouldn't have been able to make any progress at all in the slush (at least the sidewalks are now plowed at all, five days after the storm). Even in our sleepy little town some drivers didn't appreciate sharing the road in the middle of the afternoon, which made me a little grumpy. I don't like being honked at. But we made it, and returned our books and got new ones, and I got to take a little nap in the children's room while the kids looked at books. Fresh air is tiring!

Harvey's bike in a snowy bike rack

a capable machine

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too warm today

I was back on the bicycle this morning, and ready to brave the arctic vortex. Yesterday it was -14°F when I got up, so I was mentally preparing for some intense riding; and physically preparing too, with my best cold-weather outfit yet. Wool socks, fleece boot socks, winter boots; long underwear, jeans, and rain pants; t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, flannel button-down, fleece shirt, spring jacket with hood (I don't like riding in real winter coats for some reason). Then I had my muffler and my extra big hat—Drumlin Farm sheep's wool and a fleece ear band—and my two layers of fleece mittens with ski mitten covers to go over them. I was so warm and cozy... disappointed to see the temperature was all the way up to 7°F.

Of course, I could still wear all that stuff; the only thing I left out was the ski mittens, since they make it hard to operate the shifter. But I didn't absolutely need them—my trip into work wasn't a desperate trek across frozen tundra, against all the odds. It was nice, though. I stopped on the way to do some sliding on the ice of Spy Pond, which is about perfect; unlike all the smaller ponds its ice wasn't so compromised with snow on Christmas day. I wished the boys were there to enjoy it with me, because it won't be perfect anymore after tomorrow's forecast blizzard! Oh well, snow is fun to play in too.

And as for cold, it'll be back too: Saturday is supposed to be the coldest day yet. So maybe my outfit will get another chance.

ice on Spoy Pond

the gleaming expanse

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a little bit off the grid

I'm reading a book called The Unsettlers, by Mark Sundeen. It's all about folks who chose to forgo most of the advantages of modern, industrial, capitalist existence, because they realize that those things are destroying any hope we have for survival as a species. In their view. Which I can't help but think has something to it. So I was very proud of myself on Sunday when I managed to travel everywhere I had to go—to church and back, to the playground, to friends' house for dinner; about 25 miles in all—by bicycle. And it was a hot day too!

Then yesterday morning our power went out unexpectedly in the middle of the morning. Unexpectedly—need I say it? I suppose one never expects a power outage, not in the 21st century United States. But in this case it was more unexpected than usual, coming as it did on a clear, calm, day. I suppose when a car hits a power pole, the electricity doesn't stand a chance regardless of weather. We figured it wouldn't be that much of a big deal; I just wouldn't be able to vacuum. Or do laundry... Never mind, we were going to the pond anyway. And the power came back on in time for me to make Lijah's chicken nuggets in the toaster oven (and not worry about letting the cold out of the freezer as I retrieved them). Ok, so I have a while to go before I'm ready to call myself real alternative...

a cycling week

I'm a big fan of cycling, and I probably do it more than average, but it's still rare that I go somewhere on the bike every day for a week. I managed it this week! It's a good feeling.

On Sunday the boys and I took a ride out to Fawn Lake with friends. Harvey fell hard on the stone dust path a tore up his knee, but we were almost there so we finished the ride anyway... and then rode home too, of course (with a stop at the burger place for supper). Monday was a summer camp day, and Bridget and I led 14 kids around to various fun spots in Bedford: Chip-In Farm, the playground, and the town's newest pond.

On Tuesday Harvey couldn't walk; he'd been favoring his leg the day before so he woke up stiff and sore. Eventually I persuaded him the he'd be able to loosen it up on the bike, and after a couple laps around our street he agreed. So then we rode five miles up to Lexington to go to the Farmers Market, and then five more miles back (with a friend each for Harvey and Zion too—our craziness it catching!).

Wednesday and Thursday I commuted to and from work. By Thursday morning I realized that I was headed towards a full cycling week, but Friday so much was going on that I didn't think about it until it was almost dark. When I remembered and headed out for a ride Harvey wanted to go with me, and we took a lovely mile-long spin around the block. Then today we rode up to the library and back.

Nothing much, all told. But it was nice to spend some time with the boys and their friends, and to eliminate some car trips for errands, and to feel well-exercised most days. I probably won't do it again next week, but I'm sure I'll manage it again some time.

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back to our Cape house

The end of last week we were on vacation on Cape Cod. That's the sort of thing you can get away with when you have a house to visit there. We had two lovely summery days and one foggy rainy one, and we attacked all three with vacation energy.

Mama and Lijah walking on the beach

vacation

We got to Truro after lunch on Thursday, and spent most of the afternoon on the beach. Unlike last time, the water in Cape Cod Bay was plenty warm enough for swimming.

Harvey and Mama waving from the ocean

ocean wave

Besides spending lots of time in the water, Harvey also got to practice keeping the acrobatic kite aloft. Grandpa appreciated having someone else interested in it.

Ira helping Harvey fly the kite

grandfather-grandson bonding

Zion's role was to launch the thing again when it crashed, which he enjoyed. He and Lijah also made sure to take plenty of time to just sit and relax.

Zion lying on the beach, Lijah sitting wrapped in a  towel

comfortable

The next day was cloudy and drizzly, with serious rain in the forecast. Harvey and I brought our bikes; thinking we wouldn't want to miss better weather with the family later we figured a damp morning would be the perfect time for a ride and headed out. Our first big stop was Welfleet center, where of course we visited the toy store.

Harvey with the bikes outside of a toy store in Welfleet

we got somewhere

Then we explored a woodsy path that led us just about to Rt 6; seeing it we figured we might as well try the other side of the Cape and see if we could make it to the Atlantic Ocean. We did—not that we could really see much when we got there.

Harvey playing in the ocean waves on the foggy beach

who needs sky?

At least it wasn't pouring rain, though the drizzle that had started up as we approached the beach led us to change into our swimsuits a little early, to save our clothes from a soaking. We had the beach to ourselves, and we played in the waves and watched a seal swim just a few yards away, but we didn't stay long—I was a little worried the skies would open. Naturally, soon after we left the beach the rain dried up and started to get hot as we picked our way towards home. It ended up being a 14 mile ride—here's an approximation of our course—and Harvey did great, even with all the hills he had to walk up.

After lunch at home the torrential rain showed up, but by dinner time it was clearing up again. How about another walk on the beach! Rascal swam and swam, then decided he was done.

wet Rascal relaxing on the misty beach

he got all his exercise already

Saturday we started to get bored with playing in the house and going to the beach, so we went out for a hike. Unfortunately even the hikes on the Outer Cape are pretty beachy.

Harvey and Zion walking on a path by a dune

a new kind of hiking

Great Island in Welfleet is a lovely place, but it wasn't quite what our tired kids were looking for—especially when the flies started biting. So we beat a retreat, a little acrimoniously. Never mind, on the way back to the car we got to see two tortoises and five hundred fiddler crabs, and watch the tide race in, which cheered us all up immensely. Well, almost all of us; Lijah actually fell asleep in the carrier.

We had planned to meet Grandma and Grandpa in Welfleet for lunch—with our hike ending early we had some extra time, and while Leah relaxed with the sleeping boy and an audiobook the bigger boys and I set out to explore Welfleet Harbor. Only we didn't get very far, because we had to build a sandcastle strong enough to stand up the incoming tide.

Harvey and Zion working on a sandcastle

it's working!

(We actually did it, too; on the way back to the car later we saw we had built it right exactly on the high tide line. Beat that!)

After a lovely lunch we did explore the harbor, and Zion decided he was in love with the waterfront. I know the feeling. He and I at least felt pretty relaxed and vacationed at that moment.

Zion sitting on the rocks by the harbor watching the sea

he likes it

(Unfortunately then we had to go back to the house and pack up, which didn't go as well as we could have wished. But we made it home, and we learned some lessons for next time! Which might not be for a while... right?)

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PMC kids ride 2017

Summer means lots of adventures, and lots of adventures means no time and energy to write about them. So I have a bit of a backlog. Way back last Saturday all the Archibalds rode (or ran) the 2017 iteration of the Bedford PMC kids ride. This year we got the Stevenses to join us—well, four of them; Luke was off on a significantly more substantial ride of his own. Ollie thought five miles was about his speed, so Harvey was happy to take a third straight turn at the five-mile course alongside him. It was totally a breeze for both of them.

Harvey and Ollie riding along comfortably

comfortable group ride

Back at the festival later I heard from a couple people about how hilly the course was. And as a volunteer I was a little nervous about some of the riders in our group who didn't seem to be very confident on their fancy geared bicycles. The Archibald-Stevens gang was plenty confident: even 6-year-old Eliot, who joined us at the last minute, only had to run up one hill. Just like Harvey when he did the ride for the first time as a kindergartener. The rising third-graders ended the morning making plans to do ten miles next year.

Zion wasn't quite so confident. He's not feeling like he's ready to ride without training wheels, but he hadn't been riding much with them on either. Why would he, when I carry him everywhere in the cargo bike! But come the morning of the ride the day's excitement gave him plenty of energy to get himself to the start line under his own power. After that the half-mile course wasn't as much of a challenge!

Zion smiling in PMC shirt and bike helmet

feeling alright

On today's adventure he was back in the blue bike, along with his friend Nicholas—the two of them making plans for their own ten-mile PMC ride next year. I told them maybe three miles first, but you have to admire the enthusiasm.

We raised some money for cancer research too, which is cool. Yay for charity rides!

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