Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27, 2009: Bike ride!!

When we moved to Cyprus in January this year, the only bicycle we brought was Lukas's. It's a very sturdy beginning bicycle that I bought used for Marie nearly eight years ago, and Marie, Jacob, and Lukas all learned to ride on it. (Well, actually Lukas learned to ride on a friend's bike, but perfected his technique with this one.) Marie's and Jacob's bicycles were both falling apart and I ran out of time to pack mine and left it with a friend, thinking maybe to bring it out to Cyprus some time in the future, J├Ârn doesn't ride a bike, and Katie and Helen don't, either. I also brought the bike trailer.

I bought the bike trailer when Marie was three months old and used it (in December, in Germany, no less!) quite a lot for about a month. Then we moved so that my husband's great-aunt could come to live with us. The combined facts of having the bicycle and trailer in a very hard-to-get-to place in the cellar, and not wanting to be gone for longer than necessary from the great-aunt, meant that I didn't use the trailer again until about three years later, with both Marie and Jacob, and used it all of once, I think. (Maybe twice?) Then we moved again and it was much easier to get the bike and trailer out, so I used it once to go to playgroup, was concerned about how horribly dizzy I got, then found out I was pregnant with Lukas. Oh, and the last seven and a half years in Germany, we lived at the top of a very long, very steep street. That meant that going anywhere was easy, coming home was a pain. So between weather, pregnancies, great public transportation, being out of the country, and laziness...well, I used the trailer maybe half a dozen times in all those years. But I still like the IDEA very much, and where we live in Cyprus is much flatter!

But a bike trailer without a bike isn't much use, so a month or two after arriving, we bought a (very) used bicycle for me, which turned out to need new tires (which I didn't get), and a bike for Jacob, which is great--especially as it was only 10 Euros. Then a couple of months ago we finally got bikes for Marie and for me. We rode them home, and parked them--it was WAY too hot for me to be willing to go bike-riding!

This afternoon, though, I realized that the weather is finally perfect, so pumped up the tires of the bike trailer, put Katie and Helen in it, and the boys and I went for a short, but glorious, bike ride along the salt lake. (Which, incidentally, had quite a lot of water in it for several days last week, and still has a little bit!) Helen looked confused and curious as I buckled her in, but within about five seconds of starting, she was humming to hear the funny sound that makes going over bumps. :-) She absolutely loved it. I had a hard time keeping up with the boys, but blamed it on the 35 or so kilos I was pulling, not on the mumble-mumble kilos on my saddle.

Yes, there are about four months of the year that it's too hot for ME to be willing to ride a bike (the boys were riding all summer long), but the public transportation here is between bad and non-existant, and we only have one car, and it's basically flat all around here, and it doesn't rain much, sooooo...I hope that today's bike ride doesn't stay the only one this year! For that matter, I would like to go for another, longer, ride with all the children tomorrow, and on Tuesday might even use the bikes "for real", rather than walking to playgroup. The traffic conditions are a bit scary, so I'm not sure about that yet. We'll have to see how the "practice" goes tomorrow, especially with Lukas. Nobody is supposed to ride on the sidewalk, not even children, but the worst stretch traffic-wise has a really wide sidewalk, and when we walked to playgroup last week there were hardly any people there, so I'm thinking we might just ride on the sidewalk and see what happens.