Thursday, January 19, 2012
25 Reasons to Love Family Bicycling, #2: Puddle Readiness
In more breaking news about the small pleasures of riding a bike with children, yesterday we splashed around in a staggeringly large puddle.
This little moment of kid joy was brought to you in part by the humble bicycle, which required the kids to travel fully suited in raingear for the sake of a nearly horizontal downpour. We usually wear just our regular coats for short trips (woolen long underwear keeps the kids warm even if their jeans get a sprinkling of rain), but yesterday's weather forecast included a warning about 30-40 mph winds and heavy rains. Biking alongside the creek (where the winds seem to be a bit stronger) felt something like a cross between swimming against an angry current and pushing an elephant with my bike.
Anyhow, because they were covered in waterproofed fabrics, the boys were able to really whoop it up in any puddle they liked. The one pictured here is satisfyingly deep and broad, and there is a little seasonal pond nearby that we tramped around in, too. Little's enthusiasm meant that we got five -- that's right, five -- separate puddle splashing sessions in today, ranging from two minutes to a little over an hour. Every time we passed a puddle, he took the bait: before school, after Little and I dropped Big at school, when we returned to pick Big up from school, and then again after school. Plus one post-nap puddle jump in our backyard, a place which essentially becomes a small lake at this time of year.
I sometimes suspect that other parents think I am a little cruel to subject my kids to these rainy rides. True, no one likes to be pelted in the face with cold rain. (Actually, though, Big discovered this morning that he can swivel a bit on his seat and face away from the wind, and Little just tucks his head into my back with even better results.) But there is no way we would have stopped for all out splashing if we weren't already forced by bicycling to travel with the perfect puddle jumping attire. And, believe it or not, only ten minutes after we returned, Big begged me to give his brother a nap on the bike so that we could spend an hour or two riding around the model solar system along the Ruth Bascom bike path. Either he has a very poor short term memory, or he doesn't mind the weather that much. (We stayed home, by the way. The bike is the most convenient way to make necessary and short trips, but in weather this fierce, there's no reason to overdo it.)
While we were drying all our mittens and coats above the heater, we folded a few of these origami boats. We used kite paper (which is waxed, I think) so that the boats might make it through a round in the seasonal pond tomorrow. I can't say I'm excited for more of this weather, but it's bearable for short trips. And really, how else would we find ourselves with such an irresistible constellation of puddles nearby?