Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the kids are alright.

Following recovery from her cold Rapunzel wanted to get back into bicycling to camp which made me happy.  I do not mind towing her as the trip is long and the hour early but I love the idea that she is excited about bicycling and I am proud of how she is handling herself. 

So Monday we were going along pretty well.  Contraption Captain in the lead (I'm reminded of Make Way For Ducklings) and then Sparkle Pony a dignified second, Rapunzel third, and then Chafe City.... with a packet of ninja throwing stars for any drivers who come too close to the bike lane's white line.

We clear the Stanford Mall and cross El Camino and begin our charge towards Bryant Street where the traveling is easier.  Ding ding ding!  Railway crossing.  Train.  We pull up and wait for the train to go by.  Train goes by.  Gate come back up.  Contraption Captain and Sparkle Pony head across.  Rapunzel is just on the crossing with me behind her when the bell starts ringing.  Again.  She is seven and does not know that she can just continue on and be ok, she is sure that a train is imminent and she is at least worried she might die but hopeful that her mother can save the day.  She halts and panics and tries to back her bicycle up with her still on it.  This goes:  not well. 

I pat her back and move her off the bike and steer her under the gate and then quickly drag myself and the two bikes under the gate with me and then I back us off until we are at least close to the white line.  The lights are flashing red and the bell is very loud.  Neither of us enjoy the experience much.  I pat Rapunzel's back some more and the second train hurtles by. 

I glance towards the cars lined up and waiting, gauging their level of humanity as they will be briefly held up by us.  The middle-aged woman behind the wheel of the car in front meets my eye and the look she gives me is one of purest compassion and sympathy and kindness.  Someone's little kid just had a bad scare.  Rapunzel does not cry.  She gets back on her bike and we cross the tracks and bear left towards Bicycle Boulevard.  No car honks. 

Rapunzel tells me that the gate should have just stayed down after the first train.  I agree with her.  I say "if you ever find yourself stuck on tracks with your bicycle, what do you do?"  Rapunzel says "Drop the bicycle and get off the tracks."  I agree.  Sparkle Pony adds "Because you can't replace us, but you can replace a bicycle." 


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