Any first time parent will testify that life became incredibly more complicated after having children. Gone are the days when you can simply grab your keys and go carefree to well, anywhere. Instead, a simple trip out of the house now involves a whole new set of challenges. New parents quite suddenly find themselves with an extensive list of things to remember before going on even the simplest outings; because Heaven forbid you forgot a change of clothes, or even several changes of clothes for your little ones. And the one time you do forget something is the one time you will desperately need that forgotten item.
So it is with riding a bike with all of your children on board. There is a list of new things that I have to remember and check before venturing out. I need diapers, I need wipes, I need water and sunscreen. I must have the children put on their helmets and buckle them in. Make sure there is air in the tires. Grab some baby teething biscuits, plus a few extra because the 2-year-old eats them as well. Remember my keys and lock, yada yada yada. Just because I am taking a bike around instead of a car does not mean that I can just leave my house willy nilly. Quite the opposite has been true, in fact, I need to be even more prepared because I am more isolated and farther away from reaching my house. If one of my children needs a diaper or an outfit changed we are 20 minutes from relief instead of 10. It takes longer to pedal power your way back home than it does to drive the same distance in a car.
But riding a bike with your children is so worth the effort. While riding home last week from a church activity I saw the most incredible rainbow, it was perfect, I have not seen one so beautiful in years. I hope that my children will remember seeing it because it was truly a sight to behold. And it gave me an opportunity to talk to my children about the Bible story of Noah, and how God gave the rainbow as a promise that he would never flood the Earth again. We probably wouldn’t have noticed or had the opportunityto see it if we had been driving, it only came out for a few brief minutes, but we just happened to be out at exactly the right time.
The longer we are outside the more nature we get to see and experience. Some mornings we will see cute little duckies walking around our neighborhood, so I will stop the bike and me and my boys will watch them for a few minutes waddling around. We can hear the birds chirping and the wind rushing through the trees. My mind is becoming more aware and enlightened of my surroundings while being outside. Now, I realize that I am painting a pretty idealistic picture of our bike rides, and while I truly love these moments, I still have 3 little boys who constantly pick and poke one another. Most of the time I am playing referee and trying to get them to just be nice to each other. But at least for a few moments things are peaceful and we can ride and appreciate the outdoors together on my family bike.