When I was pregnant with my first, I read about how empowered women can feel after giving birth naturally and without drugs. With both of my children, I did. I learned about my own strength and felt incredibly proud of myself, after all that hard work. Today, after towing those same two beautiful children to Overton Park and back, I felt a bit of that same power.
Since getting Little Bear into the bike trailer a few months ago, I have held back and let Teddy do the pulling. My reasons (excuses?) were that I had recently birthed a small human and then that I had not been on my bike in over a year. But now we’ve been out on the bikes several times and I’ve been feeling pretty good about my strength on hills and such. In fact, now I like to pass Teddy going uphill, when he is pulling the kids. Yes, I recognize that this puts him at an unfair advantage. But I’ve never been able to pass him before. So it’s kinda fun.
But today, for a ride that is pretty short by car, I decided that I could make it towing the kids. We left Teddy at home and went with a friend. She had her daughter behind her on a Weehoo Bicycle Trailer. This meant that I would have no choice but to tow the kids the entire way. My starts were a little choppy at first, and I found that I was gripping the handlebars way to tightly. But I soon settled into the ride.
I felt good most of the way there. I did have to remind myself that we weren’t in a hurry. Not wanting to turn left on Poplar from Cooper to enter the park, we turned left off of Cooper onto Madison and rode up the hill to the light at Tucker. This hill does not seem so bad in the car. But I was definitely moving slowly on the bike. But that was fine. My friend wasn’t going that much faster than me, and her kid was helping pedal.
We were all hungry by the time we arrived at the park, so we had snacks first and then played. Having a rest was good for me and I still felt pretty good when we started out again. We rode over to view the Bike Gateway on East Parkway at Sam Cooper and were pleased to see that the dirt path has been paved to connect the Overton Park path to the Gateway. It wasn’t open for riding on, yet. But progress is definitely being made.
As we rode home, we looked in awe and horror at the cars lined up to get into the zoo. We left the park by crossing Poplar, again, to take Tucker. The cars were lined up ON Poplar all the way down past Cooper! We were so glad to be on our bikes, and taking Tucker!
Riding down the hill on Madison felt great and pumping up the hill on Cooper back to Cooper-Young did not. But I did it. I even passed my friend for a little while! I couldn’t believe how super I felt about myself. It was that same sort of empowerment I felt at birthing my kids. I also kept thinking of my 8th grade self who attempted to run track. I was horrible. I always came in last. I panted and felt like I was never going to make it. And I never felt the rush of joy and adrenaline of finishing well. But on this bike journey I was no longer my 8th grade self. I was this fabulous grown-up woman whose legs were pumping almost 80 lbs. of kids and trailer and I had a smile on my face. I had Bikeyface! We had so much fun and I can’t wait to do it, again!