On this bicycle ride I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of people taking their kids out on trips of varying length. No matter where I go, I see happy moms and dads with their smiling children.
And the care they take with their little treasures! Always strapped into their kiddy seats, no chance of anyone falling off and getting hurt, to say nothing of the love that is lavished in the form of spotlessness. So many clean and shiny children have I seen never and do I ever expect to see again.
It makes sense, too.
The kids are cooped up all day and night, weekdays and weekends with no where to go but maybe the bike shop to get new tires. And with the covids raging, what could be a safer place for your kids than the car, whether inside, on the back, or on top?
In the car the kids aren’t ever going to get sick or hurt, and even though these happy families are most clotted on gravel and tiny country roads, they have the good sense not to let the kids get out and get dirty or hurt. Because some of these gravel roads can fuck a kid up. Bad.
And the kids love it! They are smiling, gazing at the scenery, breathing in the fresh air, and when it’s grassy and pleasant they get out of the car, roll around a few minutes, then hop back onto the car where they go to the next destination.
Best of all is seeing the families stop with the kids for lunch! The kids love eating out! And when I ride by I feel like the neglectful and bad parent I am. My kid is all dirty, laden down with junk, struggling under the weight of gravity and long climbs, and the other kids, the non-child-protective-services kids, are happily belted down, shiny as heck, tars as knobby and clean as the day they were mounted, enjoying life with mom and dad.
But you know, sometimes I think that kids are too coddled nowadays. Back in the day, they got ridden hard as fuck. They flatted. Chains broke, rims tacoed, there was even the time that Charlie di Carlo a/k/a The Weasel broke his seatpost and had to ride the kid all the way back from San Marcos to Austin into a headwind standing up.
It even seems sometimes that the kids are trophies, things, even, to be strapped onto the car and shown off. Cuz the roads have been, almost without exception, empty of kids with spinning wheels and flush with kids in cars.
Maybe it wouldn’t hurt, since you spent $12k on the full suspension kid and another $5k in kid-kit badassery, and another $1k for the kiddy car seat, and since you downloaded all 20 layers of Gaia GPS so you could take the kids from Blaine to Maine without ever touching pavement, maybe, you know, you could take the kids off the fucking car and ride ’em.
Because no matter how good it feels to troll the back roads with the kids safely tucked in their car seats, trust me, it’s better for you and for them to just let the kids run.
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