I’ve written a number of times on the health benefits of giving up my car for my bike. I’ve dropped a few pounds, sleep better, and feel more alert at work. I’m finally at the point where driving makes me feel lazy which is a great because it means I’ve developed a healthy habit.
But one of the best benefits had slipped my mind till today.
The last couple of weekends I’ve taken Lincoln with me on longer rides along the interurban trail that connects north and south King County. As we rode along the trail this afternoon I noticed a women picking blackberries.
Lincoln pulled up alongside me as we stopped to watch. The woman asked if we’d like to pick berries and offered us a plastic bag. We got off our bikes and began carefully plucking blackberries off the bushes lining the trail. If you’ve ever picked blueberries it’s similar except the blackberry bushes have sharp little teeth that latch on to your fingers, hands and arms when you get close. They really are nasty little buggers.
We didn’t fill our bag, but we had enough to show the girls what we’d accomplished which was our goal. We jumped back on our bikes and rode along the trail, stopping only take a few gulps of Gatorade.
Up until now, the strongest connection I’ve made with Lincoln came last spring when I taught him how to solve the Rubik’s Cube. I know he also enjoyed the time we spent preparing his pinewood derby. He’s not a demonstrative young man most of the time which makes it difficult to gauge his interest in my hobbies.
That’s changed this spring when I biking because it’s an activity we can do together a few times each week and for more than a few fleeting minutes.
As we rode through town I asked Lincoln if he’d like to take the longer but easier route or try the shorter but more difficult route up Lea Hill. The shorter route includes a tough right turn that requires some speed. The last two times have resulted in disappointment as he’s nearly fallen off his bike by taking the turn at too sharp of an angle.
As we got closer to deciding what route to take, I told Lincoln I was sure he could do it. I explained how I’d ride ahead of him. We’d make a wider turn than before giving us a few more feet to accelerate. He nodded without saying anything.
He made it around the turn without a problem, and we continued up the hill together.
Normally, he doesn’t say much when we’re riding. I don’t either but that’s usually because I’m out of breath. But today he couldn’t stop talking about how great it felt to conquer the corner. He couldn’t wait to tell his sisters and mom what he’d done.
Down the road I’m sure I’ll appreciate the health benefits I’m experiencing through cycling. But today what mattered most to me was connecting with my son while doing something he enjoyed.