Saturday, June 20, 2015

In Which We Hang Out In Bars and Dance

Lunch at the Sag Wagon.

The past two days have been fine ones for Francis. The as yet unnamed new bike was ridden to campus Thursday, which is good, but I need to put on more new bike RAGBRAI training miles.

Still, my old pickup truck of a bike comes in handy, especially when young grandchildren are around.

On Thursday afternoon, a daughter of mine who has two young boys brought her bike to town. I had to do some maintenance on her bike to make it ready to ride—the back brake was stuck because one of the shoes had gotten out of position—but it didn’t take long to get her bike ready to ride.

She and I both have toddler seats, and her boys are 4 and 2, in the age range for said seats. She’s planning on riding one day of RAGBRAI this year, so we’re trying to get some practice miles in this summer. Said daughter, my wife, the two young boys and I thus took off late afternoon Thursday for a pleasant trail ride.

The Boyson trail had been closed last week by a minor flood last week. It is open again, I’m happy to report, but it is also a bit soft in parts. Luckily, the daughter and wife were both riding mountain-style bikes, so they had wide tires to handle soft trail conditions. I was on Francis, but I was OK.

We stopped at a city park in Marion along the way and let the boys play for a while, but had a pleasant bike ride, maybe going about 8 miles.

Friday, the wife and I had a slightly longer ride, a bit over 13 miles. We were watching a 2-year-old granddaughter, a cousin of the boys who went on Thursday’s adventure.

Said granddaughter is a Francis fan. One of her favorite catchphrases is: “Ride grandpa’s bike,” which she uses both as a question and a command. It wasn’t hard to persuade her to get her bike helmet on. The only issue with this little one and biking is to get her on the bike before she has time to touch it—she is a natural born button pusher and device player, and she becomes a chain grease magnet, if you’re not careful.

Friday, we managed to get her on the bike without her getting too messy. We headed over to the Cedar River Trail, using the Noelridge Park—42nd Street route. That is where we hit a snag. They are redoing the trail crossing at 42nd Street, and we ended up biking along Center Point Road, a rather busy street, to find a way to get to the trail.

We got there, eventually, and headed down to Cedar Lake. It was pushing noon as we circled the lake, and my wife suggested we stop for lunch. The Sag Wagon, a deli and bar, was handy.

And that’s where we went. Service at the Sag Wagon is not exactly speedy, but it’s a pleasant place to stop for lunch. There is great seating by the lake, and the 2-year-old was amused by watching the lake. She was also amused by the music, and at one point grabbed her grandmother and danced for a while.

This tot likes to hang out in biker bars and dance. We’ll have to keep an eye on her.

Anyway, after a nice lunch, we headed back. To avoid the break in the trail, we cut over to the Mount Mercy area to ride on quieter streets on the way home—so technically, now that she is biking a bit more, my wife has actually ridden home from work, even though she wasn’t working that day. I doubt that I’ll ever persuade her to become a bicycle commuter, but at least we’ve proved the concept is possible.

The granddaughter dozed a bit on the bike, and fell into a slumber. That was OK, except her head was resting on my right hand, which felt a bit squished by the time we got home.

Despite the mashed hand, all in all, it was a fine, warm day for a bike ride. I hope for more weather like this, and to get quite a few more miles on the new bike—but honestly, it’s great to have Francis and the toddler seat available when there are young grandchildren around.

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