Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A bike ride, and curlicues

1. Street graffiti, 2. House banisters, 3. Chestnut leaf shadows, 4. Shadows on the staircase ceiling, 5. C on Silver, showing us her pedaling technique.

Since my last post I've taken tons of pictures and written several half posts, only to leave all by the wayside as I remember one more thing I need to do before I head off for the weekend. This morning I'm flying to Arizona on my first solo trip since James was born. It's a whirlwind visit - fly in Thursday fly out Sunday - but I'm still taking a half empty suitcase, just in case I can get some Stateside shopping in.

As it's a business trip, I've become obsessed with trying to figure out what people wear in Phoenix to meetings when it's 100F outside and 75 inside. Other semi-senseless worries include trying to decide what to do on a plane without two children to entertain (C suggested stickers and an activity book), and wondering if James will forget me in four days.

But life in the Kolo* household is not just travel this, travel that. We're really more about wheels. Somehow going to camp helped C decide it was time to learn to ride her bike. She got home Friday and declared her passion. Saturday we spent the morning googling the how-to's and the afternoon trying them out. Thanks to a simple step break down, C started out coasting down a grassy hill, pedaling down that same hill, and then learning to steer round a handy tree. She took the practice very seriously, insisting on trying each step five times before moving to the next, and by the end of our first bike try, had graduated to concrete and the skating slope in front of a local school.

Sunday we packed bike and stroller off to our favorite park, Stromovka, to try out some of the paths there. Stromovka is just by the river and is wonderfully flat, with wide paths ideal for roller blading and biking (and the occasional horse).

Chanting "I think I can, I think I can" under her breath, C picked a path she could coast down, remembered how to balance, and took to the pedals. Instead of stopping after a few feet, she kept going and biked first 30 yards, and then more. By the end of the day she was confidently pedaling past dogs and other bikers, the purple helmeted princess knight C and her horse/bike Silver, ready to roll.

*Kolo, by the way, means wheel or bike in Czech, so it is quite appropriate that we're a biking household these days!


Barrett Bonden said...

Arizona. The stratagem is simply to hurry from an a/c car to an a/c building, back to the a/c car and thence to the a/c hotel which must have a pool. I don't envy you your flight but surely now's the time to break in an e-book reader. After all, you're a techno-fiend, you need the cred. Comfort yourself that given her present rate of development C will probably be fluent in Latin when you return.

Mary said...

Re the flight - SLEEP!

Re the bike riding - fantastic C! You are really taking on all challenges at the moment..

Tommy Williams said...

My bicycle was one of the greatest sources of happiness when I was a kid and, what do you know? It still is. It's great that she picked it up so quickly and amusing how diligently she did so.

marja-leena said...

This so reminds me of our recent time in London with our granddaughters on bike and scooter! Have a good trip, hope the jetlag is not too bad for you!

lizardek said...

Can C come and show Martin how it's done? He's totally not interested in learning how to bike! EEK.

Ellen said...

Yeah C!!

And J - how could you even ponder what you might need to do on the flight... (SO MANY HOURS TO READ IN UNINTERRUPTED...)

Beth said...

Just want you to know that I'm having fun reading your blog!

Julia said...

BB you are so right! Just got here last night, and stepping outside is like stepping into a warming oven set on a blueish tinged Mars. I'm going from a/c to a/c for sure. Though I am tempted to hunt down some of the cactus, they look so otherworldly.

Mary, Ee, and ML - Plane concerns absolutely unfounded. It is amazing how fast the time passes when you are not worried about children. (I wound up reading two books, still haven't tried out an ereader yet but will soon I'm pretty sure.) The jet lag isn't too bad but then again I woke up at the utterly unnatural for me time of 5 this morning, so we'll see how I last through meetings that run until 10 every night this weekend!

Tommy, I was a biking fiend when I was a kid too, so I am so glad C likes it. We're already working out plans for fun, longer, bike rides down the Vltava and eventually the Danube. I'd really like to bike all of the Danube in Austria sometime.

Liz, C was really not into learning how to bike for a long time, but somehow the right motivation came along and making it easy for her by first coasting with her feet at the ready really seemed to give her confidence to continue.

Hi Beth! So glad to see you!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Yay for your new biker!
A cardigan should help you navigate the temperature extremes in Arizona. Happy trails!

Eleanor said...

Glad to hear that you arrived in Mars safely!

poppy fields said...

I hope you were able to get in a little USA shopping. You wouldn't want to go back with an empty suitcase.