Yesterday I was on my way in to work in one of the summer configurations: Contraption Captain in the lead, Sparkle Pony in a strong second place and then me pulling Rapunzel in the Burley wagon. We travel 6.5 miles this way to where the kids get dropped off at camp and then the parents continue on to work. On six occasions Rapunzel (7 years) has ridden the 6.5 miles on her own, which makes me pretty proud. More recently though she's had a cold and been tired at the idea of riding so I tow her along behind me.
I could write a short book on bicycling with kids. For instance there are the cars that usually ignore bicyclists entirely but who slam on their brakes if they see you waiting at a stop sign with your spawn. You and your spawn smile and wave and head across the road. The second car behind you and your spawn decides they will go across as well (seeing as that first car is waiting so nicely) but waiting first car immediately devolves into a frothing monster at the idea of waiting any longer, hitting the horn repeatedly and driving away in a cloud of bad temper.
My hair does fall out in clumps. I ride just to the left of the kid in front of me to keep the cars from buzzing by overly close but it doesn't really help. All those idiots doing their make-up with one hand while listening to their ipod and texting on their phones are now on the same road as the children I adore above all else.
Well why do it?
Bicycling is a lot of fun. I want my kids to have the fun also. I think the best way to learn good bicycling practices is by doing and observing. I hope that riding with them will give them a sturdy foundation for safety going forward.
Ok ok, so what happened yesterday?
I hit a wire in the road that was quite long and had a small hook on one side. It wrapped around a spoke and then quickly (as fast as my wheel turned actually) zipped around a few more times and knotted my bumper into my spokes. I went from ~18mph to zero in a tiny space of time, skidding forward.
My poor wheel!
Rapunzel was safe in her wagon and just wondering why we had stopped. The good news was that I was able to gently work the wire loose and unravel it from the wheel and no spokes were broken and even the bumper looks like it can be recovered (although it is currently not on my bicycle) and then continue on to camp/work. The wheel itself stayed true.