Bike Month continues as the Herman family tries to shake a few minivan trips out of our weekly routine and replace them with cycling.
Camilla did her very first triathlon on Saturday. We didn’t even have to go out of town; it was just a few neighborhoods away from us in Arden Park. Which was a good thing because we forgot about pin-on race bibs. We had registered her too late to get a race shirt, and had brought only her sweatshirt to wear over her swimsuit. Not too comfortable when the sun starts beating down. So Ivan went back home (in the minivan–d’oh!) to get her a shirt suitable for safety pinning.
First up, 75 yards in the pool. Piece of cake. Well, actually, Camilla is used to doing 25-yard sprints at her swim lessons but not 75s, so she slowed down considerably for the last lap. But still looked pretty good.
Then on to the bike leg, a 1-mile ride on blocked-off neighborhood streets. Ivan and I think she took a shortcut because we barely got time to re-position for a photo when she sailed back in. Camilla swears she kept to the prescribed route. After parking her bike she must have been excited: instead of using the wide center aisle between bike racks to start the run leg, she jumped over several racks, weaving between bikes. Nearly tripped over a training wheel.
The run course was in 4-inch high grass around a baseball field. Grass that high pulls at your feet and there was no discernible packed-down trail; still, our girl walk-jogged her two laps, then completed the half mile through the balloon arch, with a smile on her face. Yay!
So, Wednesday (today) we biked both kids to school for National Bike to School Day. We do this once in a while with Camilla anyway; it’s a pretty easy, quiet 1.5 mile ride. We decided to bike Robin to school too, and we made it just fine, but whew! Next time I’d like to check my maps and see if we can find more neighborhood streets.
The main street we used has a generous, mostly uncluttered bike lane but some intersections do get confusing. I need to work on my assertiveness. I always check behind me, always signal, but when it comes to certain crossings I need to remember: cyclists are like cars. When the lane breaks off into a right-turn and go-straight lane and you want to go straight, you have to exit the bike lane for the main road, preferably before right-turning cars begin to drift right so you don’t have to cross in front of them.
In busier intersections I find it’s better to act like a pedestrian and use the crosswalk. But riders vary in their assertiveness, so following the rules and communicating with drivers can get confusing. Luckily most drivers around here know to look for cyclists. Sometimes they even yield when they don’t really need to.
We made it!