Every time I turn around the kids are ready to do something new. You would think I would be ready for this after so many years of kids, but it always catches me by surprise. With an unexpected day off from school it became apparent Declan had reached one of those points.
Declan is now just a bit too big for me to carry on the Bat. His height sets my balance off quite a bit and these days his knees end up under my butt. He likes using the pedaler because I do all the work when he is tired, I like it because he helps on hills. It can be difficult to park safely and it is heavy. The Metrofiets is always an option in these cases, but I wanted Declan to get some exercise and my knee is not ready for the extra weight, yet. We needed to get across town and there was only one option left, Declan would have to take his own bike!
Our neighborhood is in no way street friendly for children (there are days when I wonder if it is safe for the adults) so we headed to the BART station on the sidewalk. I hate riding on the sidewalk, but you do what you have to.
We took the train because we couldn't ride our bicycles into the Mission from our home (a ride of about a mile, all downhill). The City & County of San Francisco has deemed it necessary to separate the two neighborhoods with an under utilized, 6 lane, 45 MPH freeway with a dinky little bike lane on the side that is the bicycle infrastructure equivalent of throwing a toddler into a professional Roller Derby rink. Declan likes riding the train, anyway.
Declan is an old pro when it comes to balancing his bicycle on a moving train. We didn't have to go far, just two stops. We will be using the BART system quite a bit this summer to get around the Bay Area with our bicycles as we try to visit some of the 70 state parks that have been slotted for permanent closure in September.
Once we hit the streets again, Declan blended in with the rest of the crowd. At this spot he was asking me if we were stopping for coffee (that's my boy!). As we were on a mission for dinner groceries, I decided to just push on.
Declan is a lock pro. He takes it very seriously and I never have to worry about him forgetting to do it right. Of course, he thinks that if the bike thieves come along they will hit his totally awesome bike first.
After mastering the fine art of riding in the Door Zone (our lanes are just wide enough to give us a generous 8ish inches of door free space to ride in),
Declan was given the opportunity to experience his first bike lane parker. I have decided that instead of a comprehensive bike route what we really have in San Francisco is an amazing extension of the airport's cell phone parking lot.
In spite of the obstacles put in our way, we really had a good, clear, safe ride. At times I was a bit over aware of the density of my fine City. In reality, we spent a lot of time like this
free and clear. Declan kept telling me "I am nervous, but I like it!". I thought that summed it up pretty well for his first big inter-neighborhood adventure. He must feel awfully small when he is out there like that. He is used to being surrounded by the rest of the family, like he was today on the way to lunch.
So many more adventures for us this summer! All of the kids will get to try something new on their bicycles- a little camping, some bike/train trips outside of the Bay Area... who knows? I can't wait!