Friday, November 27, 2015

Kids on Bikes, Dad on Foot Downtown

[Sep 26 2015]

Fall has been absolutely beautiful this year. The weather has been reasonably warm and we haven't had one of those big windstorms yet that pulls all the leaves off the trees so the colours have lingered longer than usual. We tried to take advantage of the weather to ride bikes downtown. It was an interesting adventure.

We loaded the bikes on the car and headed downtown, planning to ride for a bit before grabbing dinner and having a grand time at Dad's office. As we unloading the car, I realized that Katie's helmet was still lying on the floor near the garage door at our house, protecting no heads. I faced a moment of indecision. To return home would be nearly an hour round trip, effectively using up our allocated riding time. However, I had already learned my lesson years ago about putting Katie on bikes without a helmet. I considered whether there was a bike shop close enough to buy one. As my mind raced from one idea to the next, Scott stood nearby making his own observations:

"You can't let a kid ride without a helmet. That is against the law."

That's right. Kids under 18 have to ride with a helmet, but adults have the option of riding without a helmet. Wait, that is the solution! My helmet has an internal head-band type adjustment that I cranked all the way down to Katie-size, and then adjusted the straps to fit. It wasn't perfect, but it was a helmet, and we were back in business.

After just a few minutes of riding, I realized I had a flat tire on my bike. we came back to the car where I filled it again. A moment later it was flat again, and the valve seemed to be broken. So I took the wheel off the bike and jammed in the back of the car and I ran behind the kids as they rode. Man, at the beginning of the summer, that was an easy task, but both of these kids have gotten a lot faster this year! It was all I could do to keep up, trying to shout directions to them as I gasped for air.

After riding by the drop-in center and the old Cecil Hotel, we loaded up the bikes again and drove to the nearest McDonald's for some happy meals. However this McDonald's is half-way down the block on the pedestrian avenue and doesn't have a drive through, so we had to walk in. Since my fairly expensive bike was dangling on the back of the car, I decided to bring it with us into the restaurant. We navigated between various tables and [ahem] less refined characters to a spot by the corner window where the kids could hold onto my bike and still see any incidents that might happen along the avenue. I have been in the McDonald's a few times late at night and I have witnessed some interesting things, including the time that a man had to shoo away someone who was trying to pick through his meal while it was still sitting on the order counter. No incidents to report this time, but we did end up having a discussion about what responsibility we have to help less fortunate people to get back on their feet and find meaningful employment in the world.

After that we went back to the office to get some work done. Then I remembered that they were planning to shut the power off in the building in just a few minutes, so if we didn't get out soon, we would be taking the stairs down 38 floors in the dark. We high-tailed it out of there.

Things are never dull with Dad.

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