The latest craze seems to be getting out to ride your bike! Isn’t that awesome? Lucky for me (and my family), we have been a part of the biking craze for a long time. My kids didn’t have a choice. Bikes are a must in this house. And now, we actually have the time to ride them.
However, if you don’t have a bike already and are hoping to get one, you might be too late to the cycling game.
Biking has been my thing for a long time. On the weekends when there is time, I head out on my bike for a few hours and enjoy being outside riding on the mostly quiet, country roads on my favorite route. I live in the busy suburbs, however, so my path to get there has always been a bit tedious.
I wind around via the city trails, through different parks, across many bridges, and finally, I find myself out in the quiet country. Lately, however, with all this crazy COVID-19 pandemic stuff going on, my quiet, often empty trails have been extremely busy!
This is a good thing. It makes me happy to see so many more kids (and adults) out on bikes, scooters, and skateboards. And I love seeing all the new puppies out taking their first walks with their new families. For me, this means learning to share the trails with people I hadn’t been sharing them with…
Sharing the trails with so many new “friends” has been a bit challenging. My bike has a very bright headlight and taillight that are both constantly flashing – you can see me coming from a mile away. Not to mention my speaker that sits in my water bottle cage blasting my 80s tunes…
However, precious little 5-year olds on scooters do not come with flashing lights. They also do not come with turn signals! I have learned that announcing “on your left” to a child on a scooter does not guarantee that they won’t make a u-turn in the middle of the trail as you try to pass them.
Yep…I’ve almost taken out (or been taken out) by a scootering kid who decides to make a quick u-turn in the middle of the trail to shout something back at their mom & dad who are way behind them, moving too slowly for the child’s liking. I recently had a kiddo who saw a roly-poly (or some cute little crawling bug) on the ground that intrigued him, so he hopped off his scooter suddenly and crouched down in the middle of the trail to “save” the bug!
Precious, I know! But also a bit dangerous… So now I’ve learned that anything can happen when you’re passing a child on the trails. I mean anything! So if you’re a cyclist, like me, be ready! Slow down, and keep your hand on your brakes just in case. And if you’re clipped in for a long ride, you should go ahead and unclip – you just might need to stop very quickly.
I love seeing all these kids outside! It’s great, and I understand they are curious and don’t know the rules of the trail. So even though it’s sometimes dangerous, I enjoy seeing them weave back and forth on their scooter and skateboards, sometimes singing out loud, totally oblivious to the people around them, making sudden u-turns and stopping to pick up roly-poly bugs right in the middle of the trails.
The adults are another story…. If you are a grown up on the trail who suddenly makes a u-turn without warning, that’s not so cute. You should know better! Or, if you are a grown up walking, riding, or scooting down the wrong side of the trail, that is also not cute. It’s dangerous…
Here’s what you should know, and what you should be teaching your kids:
- Always stay to the right while riding/walking/scootering on the trail
- If you get a flat tire, a pebble in your shoe, or need to stop, pull off the the side of the trail (on the grass if you can)
- When you are passing someone, announce “ON YOUR LEFT” loud and clear so people know you are about to pass them
- If you are wearing headphones, make sure you can still hear people talking to you so you know if someone is about to pass you
- If someone announces “ON YOUR LEFT,” scoot over as far right as you can so they can pass
- Watch out for people on Rollerblades – they cannot stop quickly
- If you are using a retractable dog leash, make sure you retract it if a bike or scooter is heading your way – people riding the trail can’t see those leashes from a distance
Since all this craziness began, biking has been what’s kept me sane! On the days when we finished “school” early, I would leave my husband in charge and head out on my bike for nice, quiet ride. I highly recommend it for those of you needing some quiet time.
After a few near misses, and almost going back tire over front tire because of unseen dog leashes, I have moved my rides to the roads for a while. I miss seeing all the cute kiddos on their scooters when I’m on the trails, but I’ve had several bicycle crashes, and they are not fun. I didn’t want to be involved in another one…
Your bike will allow you to go places you can’t go in a car, and it will allow you to see things you wouldn’t normally see when you’re out running your errands. It will cause you to stop and look around, and give you time to enjoy the things we don’t normally notice.
There are so many wonderful trails in and around this neighborhood to enjoy. Get out on your favorite mode of transportation and enjoy them. But be careful. Try to remember the rules of the trails. With so many of us outside enjoying the trails these days, we need to really be careful, and always be sure to announce “ON YOUR LEFT” when passing…
Check out the collage below – it highlights just a few of the friends I’ve made on my rides! Most of them are always happy to wander over to their gate for a quick selfie!
If you see me out and about, be sure to wave to me, or do like my favorite trail walkers do – wave to me and groove to my music! It’s almost always on when I’m heading back home, and it’s almost always blasting out some fun 80s dance tunes! Hope to see you all on the trails soon.
Until next time…