Last Sunday, we graduated some beginners and this week, we had some brand spanking new road riders. Not a skinny tire among them yet, but maybe someday soon. Nathan is one of the 3rd and 4th graders I teach on Wednesday nights at church. (We're doing a program called "Heart's Desire" from John Piper's group, about becoming wise in the choices we make through life. The old testament book of Proverbs provides most of our jumping off points for discussion). Last week, he leaned over while we were all listening to Sharon's riveting account of Joseph choosing wisely when presented with some bad ideas by Mrs. Potiphar. "How old to I have to be to go for a bike ride with you, Mr. Bruce?" he asked. "You're old enough now, Nathan. It;s just a question of how far your legs can take you." Checking with his folks, we set up a 3:00 PM meet-up time at the usual Veterans Park venue. At church Sunday, I was peppered with questions from other excited would be adventurers, and later with phone calls from concerned parents of said adventurers. Where would we be going? (on roads) Would there be cars? (Yes, but not many and not going very fast). Who would be supervising? (Me, unless they wanted in on the fun). After all was debated and decided, 4 new riders assembled at the appointed time and place. Mary Frances, Ainslie, Nathan, and Andrew. Here they all are. Braving the frosty 40s in various states of embundlement.
I pumped up tires, made sure at least one brake was working and held a pre ride safety briefing. We reviewed hand and arm signals, road hazards, lane position, and communication along the line of riders. When it appeared everyone had it down pat, we headed off to the great unknown.
I used 5 miles of the club beginner layout with just one hill. One of the kids really labored going uphill, and said he wished he'd remembered his inhaler. One thought our pace was perfect, one thought it was too slow and one too fast. One said next to nothing at any time, but smiled a lot. This was very new for them and they all seemed to really enjoy it. Here is our "pace" line out on the open road. 1st time ever for any of them as far as I know.
We made it back in good order taking in views of streams, farms, dogs and goats. Even the one who worked the hardest asked when could we do this again? Hmm, what's the weather supposed to be like next weekend?