Friday, June 26, 2009

Queen of Questionable Judgement

It sounded like such a good idea. Liza has been getting so good on her bike with training wheels, it's hard to keep up with her on foot. She's not up to the point where she can ride along with an adult next to her on a bike, so maybe I could just go along on rollerblades. But the sidewalks in our neighborhood are too bumpy to blade, so I'd have to skate in the street while she rode on the sidewalk ... and every time she needed a little push to get started, I'd have to clomp up somebody's treelawn, push her, then clomp back down to the street.

Okay, so maybe we should just go to the paved bike trail near our house. It's completely away from the street, almost completely flat, and both wide and deserted enough that we could go side-by-side most of the time. But it's out in the full sun all day long, and it's deserted enough that if something happened, it could be hours before somebody happened along to help out.

Okay, so maybe the bike trail at the Metropark (the part near the 21 on the map). Yeah, it's smooth, separate from traffic, and in the shade, there's a fair amount of bike/blade/jogging traffic, and the part near the beaver pond is mostly flat with a few gentle rises. We're set!

Things went fine for a while. She's still learning to stay on the right side on a shared path, so I had to do a fair amount of nagging about that, but otherwise, things were fine. I even managed to negotiate the copious amounts of storm debris (oops, hadn't anticipated that) without wiping out me or my daughter. She even made it up and down a few rises with only a few surprised squawks and a couple gentle pushes from me to get back up the hill.

We went one way for a while, then turned around and went back to the car. Since we hadn't been out long, I suggested we explore in the other direction. The rise that way turned out to be higher, and I had to push her the last few yards to the top. "No problem, on the way back I'll just get her to stop on her way up and we'll walk the bike down so she doesn't end up careening out of control and end up in the beaver pond."

As I am thinking this, Liza is coasting down the back of the rise, which is gradual but rather long, and she's picking up speed and hollering louder and louder as she goes. She's not strong enough to use the hand brake on her bike yet, so the only way she has to slow down is to either coast to a stop, or drag her feet. I'm yelling at her to put her feet down to slow down, she's yelling that she can't, I'm telling her that of course she can, she's not paying attention to where she's going, and she drifts off the right side of the path. In slow motion she's careening through the greenery, legs cartwheeling wildly in the air on either side of her bike, and when she finally coasts to a stop, she falls over ... into a patch of poison ivy.

Meanwhile, I'm simultaneously avoiding sticks, trying to slow down on damp pavement, shouting directions, and kicking myself for coming to this path, so I don't see where a tree root has popped up the asphalt into a 6" tall speedbump all the way across the path. I hit that going at a good clip, and I manage to remember to throw myself forward onto the pads (as if I really had a choice when my feet got knocked out from under me that way). I skid a yard or two on knees, wrists, a couple fingers, and I think the fastener on my jeans shorts, judging by the bruise I have on my stomach.

Now I'm checking myself for major injuries, Liza is crying and wandering around in the poison ivy, and I swear, the bike is on it's side, the back wheel spinning like a scene in a bad movie. I wipe the blood off my fingers, wade into the greenery and pull out the kid and the bike, and we start the slow trek back to the car. I give up on trying to skate and push the bike, and I put on my backup sandals that I had stuffed in the basket on the front of Liza's bike. Except, of course, those sandals had landed in the poison ivy, so I had to leave my socks on to prevent spreading the oils to parts of my body that hadn't been exposed yet.

That's when the high school cross country team ran by.

Bet they'll be talking about us for a while ... muddy kid who is dawdling along, picking one of every type of leaf she can find near the path, being drug along by one arm by her muddy, bleeding mother who has a pair of muddy rollerblades under her arm and a pair of white athletic socks on under her expensive leather sandals.

After explaining to her 14,000 times that we need to hurry so we can go try to wash off the poison ivy oils, I finally get her back to the house and hose us both down with liberal amounts of hot water and soap. Our clothes are in the washer on HOT right now, which means my jeans shorts will probably shrink so much they'll fit Liza. And I get to spend part of my weekend wearing rubber gloves and washing down Liza's bike and my rollerblades with hot, soapy water.

All because I wanted to go for a bike ride this morning.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the sum total of our injuries from this little exercise: I have a 1/8" long cut on one finger, and Liza has a non-bleeding scratch on one leg.


Anonymous said...

I think this is an AWESOME testimonial on why everyone should wear pads while rollerblading. Maybe if I did up pictures of my broken wrist, we can do a before and after?

Also - glad to know you are both okay, but did she get poison ivy or were you able to avoid it with your fast showers?


Anonymous said...

Looked up pictures - duh! Can't type this morning.

Anonymous said...

As my mother would say, it is things like this that build character - that put hair on your chest.

mlf said...

We love our trail-behind bicycle. The kids use it from 3 to 8 years old. They are happy to ride on the trail-behind from distances as close as the grocery to as far as Ft.Worth (~80miles). And, you don't have to trust the road-wise judgement of your child.