A Long Cold Ride

by Stefani on 2-January-2008

We live in an old neighborhood, so, when just a block from us, a new sidewalk is being laid, it’s big news. Even bigger is the news that the sidewalk actually turns into a sort of greenbelt, blazing a trail along the creek through the woods.

We set out today to make our first official bike trek down the trail. We knew that it would be a long, cold ride, but I remembered a coffee house about halfway on the loop down the trail and back around side streets to our home. So, I thought with a little hot chocolate pit stop, we should be able to make it.

This idea actually held a deep satisfaction for me, because I would very much like it if we could ride our bikes more places. We just don’t live in the kind of community where you can forgo a car altogether, and just get by on pedal power.

Japan comes to mind (as it often does).

The Way They Roll

I could have taken hundreds of photos of long stretches of bikes, just like this one. With gas at about $6 a gallon, and parking ridiculously expensive and difficult, bike riding seems to be the preferred method of transportation. There, every bike has a basket, many have seats for children on the back, and some even have seats for children on the back AND the front. * (edited to add a footnote about the masks people wear in Japan – see bottom)

So, off we went, feeling full of adventure and proud that we had an actual place to GO on our bikes. It didn’t take long though, for the tales of woe concerning frozen fingers and cheeks to begin.

We braved on, and reached our destination only seconds before we faced certain death by way of hypothermia (that can happen at 48 degrees, right? :-). We arrived at the coffee house…. the very closed, and in fact OUT OF BUSINESS coffee house.

It took all that I had to rally the troops. We pedaled on and finally made it to our gym, which has a cafe, and thankfully, hot chocolate. Make it a tall, and throw in a raspberry fudge brownie for the arctic explorers, please. (Why do they have things like that at the gym?)

Long Warm Drink

Note how all ten of his little digits are soaking in the warmth of that drink!

The boys thawed, and managed to make the trek home again. You should have heard their tales for Daddy though. I think they might have even conjured up a polar bear for effect.

Hope you are staying warm today!

* About those surgical masks that you see Japanese people wearing in a lot of my photos… It’s actually really cool. People wear them there if they have allergies, to keep out the pollen, or if they have a cold, to spare others, or if they have something big coming up (an exam, or vacation, say) and don’t want to risk getting sick. I saw TONS of people with them, even little kids. I think it’s such a nice idea, keeping your germs to yourself.

Amber January 2, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Oh, those wonderful family adventures! It doesn’t take much, huh? Enjoy your new greenway—-I’m sure you’ll find many more treasures on your two-wheeled adventures in the new year…

Grace January 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Stef, I have been stuck in bloglines a bit too much lately, and this is the first time I’ve seen your new banner. I LOVE it beyond explanation. It’s AWESOME. And so is the new year pie of all the fruit you’ve picked and so is this rad bicycle post. xoxox

Sarah Jackson January 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Hooray for adventure! Such intrepid boys you have, braving the cold. Says she who wouldn’t go to the zoo when it was only 55 out. 🙂

Leigh-Ann January 2, 2008 at 9:29 pm

oh stef… what a lovely tale. lovely life. lovely movly.
yes. new word.
la 🙂

Irene January 2, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Yes, here in the cold Netherlands we know what it is like to ride our bikes when it is freezing outside. Still, we get out there and do it. You learn to dress for the cold weather. It’s good that you got the kids out for this kind of an experience. Remember to wrap up warmer the next time. Hot chocolate is always perfect.

brit January 2, 2008 at 9:43 pm

adorable new banner, I have the christmas one framed, I refuse to take it down for the season! One of my major annoyances is the winding road we live on, which is rural enough for horses to be found weekly but rural enough that teenagers zoom zoom zoom up and down the road. I won’t even run with the jogger on it and I hate that because a mile away is a dike that you could follow all the way into town, and I would love to be able to do that…body power…

prairie daze January 3, 2008 at 5:20 am

i can’t imagine a gym with a cafe. i think that would bring me to work out.

wow.

so it’s finally cold in your neck of the woods, eh?

Tracy January 3, 2008 at 5:26 am

Oh, don’t you hate it when a place you were intent on going ends up not being open, and worse, out of business! Bummer. I’m glad you got your hot chocolate, finally.

I’m planning to go jogging when it gets up to 40 here next week…

Katherine January 3, 2008 at 5:43 am

Hey, I’ve been noticing the face masks folks wear on the street in Japan. What, exactly, is that all about?

Hope you’re staying warm today. Our low here tonight in NC is 18. Finally, it feels like real winter!

Love, Katherine

Diane January 3, 2008 at 5:56 am

Wait… do you mean 48 degrees ABOVE zero?! I am jealous, friend. It sounds like a day at the beach to me!! I was wondering about those face masks, too. What’s the story? What’s the story with the brownies and hot chocolate at the gym? What the heck?! Glad you made it home safe and sound, no frostbite…

Lisa Clarke January 3, 2008 at 7:47 am

We had a 10 degree wait at the bus stop this morning, but that’s not nearly as much fun as a bike ride with a hot chocolate prize at the end 🙂

Meg January 3, 2008 at 10:46 am

I love the idea of riding my bike more places. My little boy is just not getting the hang of it. I tried all summer to help him learn balance. His friends got new bikes for Christmas and they want to ride them to school every morning. It’s 15 degrees here right now. That freezing cold just walking but then add in the wind from riding and brrrr!

lina January 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I love that picture of your son hugging the hot chocolate. Adorable!

cyndi January 6, 2008 at 6:38 am

good evening from Japan. i don’t remember how i found your blog, but i did and just before you came here for your visit. it;s been interesting seeing your photos and reading about your experiences here.
i live in far western tokyo and am one of the many many many oka-sans riding around on a bike with a basket and two wee ones, one on the front and one on the back. it’s a great way to get around even in the dead of winter. we just have to remember to bring along thermoses of hot cocoa!

cyndi January 6, 2008 at 6:39 am

good evening from Japan. i don’t remember how i found your blog, but i did and just before you came here for your visit. it;s been interesting seeing your photos and reading about your experiences here.
i live in far western tokyo and am one of the many many many oka-sans riding around on a bike with a basket and two wee ones, one on the front and one on the back. it’s a great way to get around even in the dead of winter. we just have to remember to bring along thermoses of hot cocoa!

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