We are an active family. We ride bikes together often. I have
been saying since the fall that I'd like to drop Caleb off at
school on bikes, as the trip is just about three miles each way. I
have been dreaming of warm weather that would allow us to ride
bikes to and from school.
So you can imagine Dan and Caleb's surprise when I balked at the
idea of actually following through on the idea of biking to school!
When we ride bikes together, we have a system - Dan is first, Caleb
is in the middle, and I am last. We make sure to stay on side
streets, and we scope out stop signs and alleys with a purpose. We
are like a well-oiled safe-bike-riding machine.
But for the three-mile trip to
school with Caleb, I would be (gasp!) by myself! We would have to
travel main roads to get there. If any of you have traveled on
Damen during rush hour, you know exactly what I mean! Besides,
shouldn't a little person be older than Kindergarten age before
they are allowed to tackle the chaotic streets of Chicago??
Under much pressure, and with a
slight sense of adventure, I mapped out the route on the computer,
and learned that we'd have to spend at least part of the trip on
busy streets, but could do the majority of the trip without much
traffic. I took a deep breath, strapped on our helmets, and off we
And to my surprise (but no one
else's), we did just fine! We got off track just twice (personal
error). Clearly, the small slip of paper in my hand was not exactly
accurate as directions! But, we figured it out and righted our way
both times. We also discovered a homeless village on Damen, just
north of Webster, under the overpass. Thankfully, the gentlemen
living there found it as funny as Caleb did that he was weaving in
and out of cardboard boxes, shopping carts, and people, sometimes
riding up the steep wall to avoid a collision! I, however, was not
laughing. Mostly, you could call it paralyzed. Or struck with fear.
Not Caleb. He was delighted by the obstacle course!
We got to school unscathed, minus my
heart stopping a dozen or so times. At the end of the day, his
bike, with its cute little combination lock adorned with airplanes,
ducks, and stars (instead of numbers) was in the same place we had
left it. The trip took longer than I expected, but I imagine that
next time we won't get lost and we can shave five or ten minutes
off our time. That's right. I said next time. I'm getting to be as
brave as my 6-year-old!
Tricia Streit Perez is partner to Dan, mom to Caleb, and founder of One Fit Mama®. She lives in Wicker Park.
See more of Tricia's stories here.
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