Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Cargo Bike Gang
Too many characters ride in the cargo bike:
(Not one of my better drawings, but definitely the most characters on one napkin ever)
We've been taking a cargo bike to school and camp, more or less every day for five years. During that time, the kids have gained something close to 100 pound combined, and I have aged at least 20 years.
Starting in the fall, the kids will no longer be at the same school. One will be traveling beyond reasonable biking distance to the upper east side of Manhattan. Therefore, as we finish up these last weeks of summer, we are making the daily bike trip to downtown Brooklyn for the last few times.
I have mixed feelings. The daily routine of biking has been mostly a good thing. The excessive exercise has probably kept me from completely falling apart physically and mentally. It has certainly kept me from abandoning my misbehaving sons on a subway train. But it has always been a slightly anxiety-inducing daily grind: The weather is most often too hot or too cold. I am rarely not dangerously sleep-deprived. And many pedestrians and motorists seem to hate me for the outrageous decision to bike my kids to school and are happy to shout their opinions at me from their car windows or often, their position standing in front of us in the bike lane.
I am very pleased and overwhelmingly thankful that, besides the frequent verbal hostility, we have made it through thousands of miles without an accident or an interaction that left physical marks.
It is probably time to stop anyway, given the kids' increasing size and heft. If you are one of our few readers who is not my mom, you are probably wondering why my sons are not riding their own bikes to school by now... Well, while I had often fantasized about that happening eventually, the trip is 5 miles, mostly around the very windy Brooklyn Navy Yard, and culminates in a rather nasty stretch of riding in traffic in downtown Brooklyn. And my kids have never been very interested in self locomotion.
At any rate, since we were approaching the end of the cargo bike phase, it seemed like there should be some sort of commemorative napkin. The kids came up with an endless list of characters that have appeared on the napkins over the last five years that they thought should be riding in the bike. They argued over who should get to sit on which character's shoulders. And they berated me this morning for failing to somehow work in Doctor Who's Tardis.
I had to draw the line somewhere.
(You can see a photo of us on the bike on a rainy day in 2012 on this bicycling photography blog: gudphoto.com)