Saturday, September 28, 2013

In Which We View Fish And Rescue An Asian Lady

On a trail bridge over Dry Creek. I think Amelia is enjoying the morning ride.

My son-in-law was headed to the Des Moines area for a race today, so my wife asked my daughter this morning if she and the kids wanted to come over. We were to go to the gym first, and then pick up two of the kids at dance class—my daughter and her oldest daughter and youngest daughter would then join us after dance class.

Audrey suggested that I put the toddler seat on my bike and ride it to the gym in case Amelia was willing to go for a ride. Then, after we exercised, my wife would drive to the nearby dance academy, while I biked.

When we got there, we asked Amelia if she wanted a bike ride. She grinned, but didn’t answer. So, I took her out of her car seat and put her by the bike, and began to put her helmet on. She’s not a shy little girl—if she didn’t want a ride, she surely would have let me know at that point.

Apparently, she was willing to ride. I finished getting her ready, strapped her in the toddler bike seat, and off we rode.

On the way back to my house, we came to Walgreens. We could either go left and head down C Avenue directly home, or go right and go down the Lindale Trail to the Boyson Trail. I asked Amelia what she wanted to do. I figured if we went on the trail, it would only be for a short ride, because it was cool and she didn’t have a sweater on.

By now, she had rediscovered language. “Trail,” she said. So we went right.

Along the way, we passed a girl jogging, a couple walking a dog and heard several birds. Then, when we reached the Boyson trail, traffic picked up a bit, and we saw a few more walkers, joggers and bikers.

I headed north right away, figuring I would take take the short leg of the trail to Boyson, rather than riding the whole trail, which would have taken an hour or so. When we got about 2/3 of the way to Boyson Road, we noticed a middle aged woman with a mountain bike stopped, looking at her chain.

We stopped. “Is your bike OK?” I asked.

The lady smiled at me, and mumbled something about her husband, gesturing north along the trial. English was clearly not her primary language, but from my bike, I could see that her chain had jumped off the front cogs. When that happens, a chain can get pretty tightly caught, but it didn’t look like hers was. I thought of taking Amelia out of the bike seat, but that would take a while, or of asking the lady to hold my bike for a minute, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get her to understand that I was intending to fix her bike. So, I just hopped off my bike, and with my right hand I grabbed the central bar of my bike, holding it and Amelia steady.

With my left hand, I first pushed her rear derailleur forward, taking tension off the chain. Then, I ran my first finger along the chain, until I looped it around the front cog. With a quick flick of my finger, her chain was pulled out of the area between the cog and her bike frame, and now rested on her cog.

She looked a little startled, but knew enough English to say “thank you.” Amelia had no comment.

Then, I hopped back on my bike and continued north. When we got to the bridge over Dry Creek, we turned to stop at the bridge for a few minutes, because I knew Amelia loved watching water. Luckily, there were lots of fish visible in the still pool of water under the bridge. It’s been dry lately, and there Is not much flow in Dry Creek, but that probably concentrates the small creek fish in the remaining pools of water, which made watching them easy and entertaining this morning.

After a few minutes, I crossed the bridge, turned around and headed for home. I was on Sussex when my wife texted to let me know we were going to Skype with my daughter who lives in England. We made it home just in the nick of time.

So, we had time to both rescue an Asian lady and watch some fish. That makes for a pretty good ride, which I think Amelia enjoyed almost as much as I did.

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