My new shiny big girl bike.
A few months ago, when the van was dead and we were on the fence about fixing it, I started scowering craigslist for a bike, despite the fact that I could not ride a bicycle. I learned as a kid, but wiped out down a steep hill at about 7, and decided “Nope, bikes are not for me.” 20 years later, and I was still bearing a grudge (and a gnarly scar on my knee). No problem, I would just buy a trike!
Yes, a trike, which is actively advertised to “the elderly, and those with balance issues!” Considering I regularly fall down the stairs, and have been known to fall over while putting on pants, I would classify myself in the second category, but I convinced Tom that I really wanted the trike for the awesome basket on the back. As luck would have it, I found a high quality Torker TriStar for a great deal, and was so, so thrilled when it was dropped off. Right away I started playing with how to fit three children (and hopefully some groceries) on it.
Problem #1: You can’t hook the bike trailer up to the left wheel, without it being out in the street. I took the basket off and hooked it to the back axle, which worked, but limited how sharply I could turn right without the connector bar rubbing on the wheel.
Problem #2: The wheel span makes it impossible to hook a rear-wheel baby seat. Also, you couldn’t hook up the trailer, or the basket.
Problem #3: Okay, we’ll build a bench on the back axle, out of two rear-wheel seats! though.. the axle is only weighted for 30 lbs… and the lowest combination of children I have is 40….
Okay, now I’m getting desperate. I’ll just screw a rubbermaid tub to the back, and all you kids just hold on, okay?
Because I want this bike SO MUCH and if I didn’t have kids I could have it, and I would ride it to the farmers market and have a loaf of bread hanging out of the basket and I wouldn’t get Popeye legs from hauling around 100 lbs of kids and AARRGG just fix the *%$#ing minivan already, I give up.
So I sold it (to an 80 year old Korean man), and sulked for a week. Something about not getting to keep my dream bike served to rub in the fact that I, as a mom, am expected to always defer to the needs of others. Taking a backseat in my own life is one of the hardest parts of parenting for me, but seldom is it something as concrete as a dream bike. And I was pissed off. I wanted my bike, and I wanted to have the time (and energy!) to ride it. And while we were on the subject, I wanted to write daily, I wanted to cook spicy food without listening to the other 4/5ths of my family complaining about it, I wanted to go shopping without bargaining for good behavior, I wanted my hips to go back to their prebaby state, I wanted to finish a cup of coffee before it was cold, I wanted to clean my house and it stay clean for 30 seconds, I wanted to just take a shower by myself sometimes. And I wanted my bike.
And so I fell in the pit, and wallowed there for a week or two. Resenting your children is probably a sign you need to get a new perspective, but I couldn’t see past my own (walking, not biking) feet. Slowly the sting wore off, and I started looking on craigslist for another bike. A two-wheeled bike. A big girl bike, as Ella reminded me. I practiced on Tom’s mountain bike around our back yard, in our driveway, and eventually on our quiet street. Once I felt comfortable staying upright, I even took the older girls around the block in the trailer (my legs were angry for days). I went to look at a few craigslist bikes, and turned them down because they didn’t have gears, or they were too tall, or the bike was less metal than rust.
But last week, I finally bought my big girl bike.
And it hauls all three of my kids just fine. Now I just need a basket on the front, and maybe some streamers.