From the Backseat of a Bike

In case you were under the impression that because we don’t have a car, we don’t have backseat squabbles, let me disabuse you of that notion. We may not have a car, but, you know, life finds a way. And the backseat of a long tail bike is just as good as the back seat of any minivan.

Which means that our children, just like anyone else’s, are growing up saying things like, “But I wanted to sit in the front! You always get to sit in the front! Okay, fine, but I get to sit in the front next time!” or “Stop! You’re crowding into my space!” and playing games like the ABC game. Our version includes such rules as: a letter counts if you find a word that starts with that letter, you find a thing that starts with that letter, or you see the letter on a license plate. We’re really lucky that somebody is always wearing a zipper. Also, for an extra challenge, if we make it all the way through the alphabet before we reach our destination, not only do we start again, we have to find each letter twice before we move on to the next. Super tricky, I know.

And just as our children are prone to saying things like, “Are we there yet?” we are just as prone to say things like, “We get there when we get there!” or “No wrestling back there. No, I’m serious. Stop! Don’t make me pull over!”

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But, of course, they have made me pull over. We spent a lovely 10 minutes on the Manhattan bridge the other day, waiting for someone to get over the fact that we weren’t on the Williamsburg bridge. Life is hard sometimes, you know, when you don’t get to ride over the bridge you wanted. (And yet they both go to the same place. There’s a metaphor there, but I’m going to let you find it yourselves.)

When we got the bike we imagined life would be a montage of singing happy songs and waving at friendly/amused strangers as we rode joyfully, smoothly on our way. And while there is a fair amount of waving at amused strangers and even song-singing, there’s also a fair amount of dodging potholes, breaking up arguments, and restraining myself from yelling at motorists I feel are trying to get a little too close to me. Not quite so glamorous.

Still, it’s nice to know that just because we don’t have a car, doesn’t mean we’re missing out on all that family time fun. I’m just so glad that life really does find a way.

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  1. I feel the same way when I don’t get to go over the bridge I want to. I usually throw a fit and drag my feet, and try to stop the whole show. But then when I get to the destination, I realize it was probably the best of the bridges I could have crossed. 😉
    I would be scared out of my wits to ride a bike with 3 children in NY. Good thing you still have yours.


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