Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Cool, Cloudy Ride Turns Sunny

view of bridge on the trail.
Me and Mr. T on the the "brand new bridge."  He's too shy to look at the woman taking the photo.  Or perhaps just too focused on the creek.
Bare trees and clouds reflect in Indian Creek from what Tristan calls "the brand new bridge."
Late in the ride, headed north, towards the old railroad bridge.  Nice day in late fall.
There have been plenty of cool morning rides lately—an entire week of lows in the 20s.

That has made it a really good biking week.

When I got home Friday, the grandchildren had already arrived.  We were keeping Nikayla, Tristan and Amelia, ages 4, 2 and 1, overnight.  Tristan assured me that I was his friend, something he often tells me, and he bestows the title of “friend” very parsimoniously.  His grandmother, who he adores, is not his friend.  Neither are the most important people in his life, his parents.

Why do I earn the coveted, rare title of Friend of Tristan?  Well, when he tells me I’m his friend, he usually also explains:  “You take me on bike rides.”

Anyway, on Saturday mornings, Nikayla has a dance class, and Amelia, who often tries to emulate her older sister, loves to go watch.  So this morning, Audrey took the girls to dance, while I took the boy for a boy bonding journey, a friendship fiesta—a bike ride.

We started out about 9:30  It was cool and cloudy, fairly quiet on the trail.  After a week of frosts, the bugs are gone, though not the birds.  We had not gone far when we started to hear and see some birds, including a big red-headed woodpecker who landed on a dormant tree just beside the trail.  It was closer than I’m used to seeing this bird, and I stopped to try to take its photo, but it sped off.

No matter, on we went.  Tristan had asked that we go check on Thomas—he remembered a recent Wednesday ride when we headed down the Cedar River Trail to the railroad tracks near Cedar Lake.  I knew today I didn’t have time to ride down to Quaker Oats and back, so I suggested the Boyson Trail by pointing out that we could cross many bridges, and he agreed.

He was a bit subdued.  He had slept in and was in a contemplative mood.  He didn’t narrate the ride, as he usually does, but happily replied to my questions, and quietly commented now and then, such as noting that a “plane is in the sky” when we heard the sound of an small single-engine prop-powered aircraft.

We proceeded down the trail, crossing and recrossing the bridge that leads to the Marion High School football field.  I rode on the new trail down to Menards, and when we turned to go back, Tristan wanted to cross the “brand new bridge” again—it’s the longest bridge on the trail and Tristan calls it that because it was brand new the first time we crossed it.

We stopped at the bridge to watch the water and so I could take his picture.  A jogger came up, and asked us if we wanted her to take our picture.  I said “yes,” but then Tristan was too shy to look at the camera woman.

We headed down to the park end of the Boyson Trail and then north again.  When we got to the north end, Tristan said he was ready to go to grandma’s house, so we didn’t go back to the trail that goes behind Walgreens, but instead went directly home.

As we had ridden along, the sky slowly cleared, the wind died down and I was rather warm by the time we finished.  I think Mr. T was too—I had put leggings under his pants and two pairs of socks on him, and Audrey had found him a thin hat to wear under his helmet.

All in all, it was a very nice ride.  I took some pictures along the way.  The photo that I found most interesting was one of Tristan during our bridge stop.  He looks sad, and a tear is rolling down his cheek.  It’s a heartbreaking picture—boy of sadness—and totally misleading.  His mood was upbeat all ride long, even if a bit subdued—he was happy and pleased to be out on his bike seat.  I think he looks “sad” only because that’s his thoughtful face while he gazes at the stream.  He was happy to be there and I was glad to have him.  His older sister has outgrown the bike seat, and he is starting to get a bit tall for it, too—I’m afraid this will be his final fall riding this seat with his friend.  We do have a trailer that larger kids can sit in that we attach to Audrey’s bike, so I’ll still be able to take him biking some.

But, sometime in the months that follow, after he has turned 3, he’ll just be too big to ride on this seat anymore.

I know today his tear was not of sadness at all.  It’s just a reaction to the cool breeze of the ride and some dust in the air.

Yet it seemed to symbolize, to me, the coming end of our biking partnership, at least in his present form.  Granted, that’s not for a while—but that day will come.

For Christmas this year, I’ll be looking so see if I can find some other form of device to attach to my bike so I can continue in the new year to cycle with my friend—and hopefully with his older sister, too.  And the small seat in front will be for younger grandchildren, new biking friends of the future.

Why the tear?  He is not sad.  In fact, I think he loved the ride.

Friday, sunrise over Kenwood School.  The week has been full of this kind of morning--a good reason to be a biker.

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