Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fourteen Miles of Errands

Sometimes when I am driving in my car, I look down at the Tripometer and think, "How have I driven 50 miles in just a couple of days?"  I get gas, re-start to 0.0, and spend a few days toodling around town doing rainy-day preschool runs, drop something off at a friend's house on the way home, take the dog to the vet, grab a few groceries. Maybe I even think that I'm not using my car that much, but before I know it those miles really add up. With a lot of our extended family living out of state and my twice-weekly classes at school too far and too inconvenient by public transit, having at least one car is still a necessary luxury for our family. But with spring/summer weather looming, I am trying to make a better commitment to ride my bike for shorter trips (under 10 miles) outside of my school nights. Even if it's raining. I also think that when I run errands by bike, I am much more efficient about planning where and when I go, and don't make all those little extra side trips that add up to dozens of miles in just a few days.
So with my <10mi goal in mind, Alton and I set out yesterday to take care of a few things. The forecast was for warm temps and sun all week, so we really couldn't expect better riding weather in the Pacific Northwest in early May. On my trusty Xtracycle, we loaded up snacks and water bottles, plus grocery store bags, and were set to go. I opened our garage and saw that gusty winds were blowing some grey clouds to and fro up in the sky, covering the sun from time to time and stealing its warmth. I asked my shorts-and-tee-clad son if he wanted a sweatshirt, and tossed one into my bag even after he answered in the negative. Sure enough, once we wheeled out of the garage he decided that not only did he want a sweatshirt, he wanted pants, too. I threw his rain pants on over his shorts, which serve to block a lot of wind even if they aren't super-cozily lined, and we were off. Except that I didn't grab a sweatshirt for me, brr!  I thought that once I started riding and exerting myself I would warm up and find a sweatshirt too hot, but instead it took a mile or two for my body heat to penetrate the layer of goosebumps on my arms.
First stop: haircut for Alton. We rode to a kids-only hair salon in an outdoor promenade of shops about 7 miles away, which seems like an extravagant distance, but I found that stylists who work exclusively on kids REALLY know how to work on kids, and I love his cut from our favorite stylist every single time. Plus I'm getting a workout on that ride! We parked at the bike racks next to REI (looking longingly in their windows, but we were on a mission and already buy too much stuff there...) and I snapped a fun "before" pic of Mr. CrazyHair.
Another perk of the children's salon is fun "chairs" in the shape of airplanes or fire trucks, and flatscreens all over showing nice, distracting kids' movies to absorb the little ones.
Next stop: after his cut, we rode around the corner to meet Daddy for lunch! A nice mid-week treat, and one we don't do often enough.
Last Stop: waving good-bye to Daddy after lunch, Alton and I carried on to the grocery store, and left with full rear bike bags and a cookie for the road for Alton.
We were finally on our way home when I turned a corner and had to brake suddenly for a mother duck and her 10 ducklings in the middle of the road! Mother duck was determined to cross Minter Bridge Road, a wide & busy street, so I waved my arms to stop the oncoming cars for her to pass safely. Alton and I then crossed on our own to follow them and watch--she was getting somewhere by scurrying from bush to bush across people's front yards and driveways. What a touching sight to witness, and one that would not have been as accessible in a car.
Make way for Ducklings! (One of our favorite books.)
And thus ends a successful day by bike. We got fresh air and exercise (even though Alton wasn't pedaling, I think that we do still walk a bit more when we go places on the bike than when we go in the car), finished a few regular boring 'ol errands in a fun way, and communed with wild animals.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a lovely time was had by all, even the duck family.