Kiddo in tow
I now know you never really comprehend the meaning of compromise until you have a child.
Take, for instance, biking habits before kid and after kid.
Before kid, I loathed riding on a bike path. Sure, heading east from downtown Grand Junction on the Colorado Riverfront Trail is a nice way to access the Palisade area Fruit & Wine Byway, aka the Fruit Loop, especially since the creation of the handy underpass at 30 Road.
Riding on a bike path used to be a tool for getting to the ride. It was a prelude to hours of pedaling on undulating hills past peach and cherry trees en route to a stiff drink or foamy latte.
Forget about those adventures. At least for now.
I recently watched with a touch of envy as other road bikers dropped carefree hellos and sailed by en route to Palisade. (They were probably going to the distillery or the brewery — damn them.)
Meanwhile, I got a workout on the flats of the Colorado Riverfront Trail, while on a three-speed, 1970s Raleigh with a child in tow.
Cycling with a child, I realized on this particular outing, is a training tool. It’s a secret plenty of dads have already figured out, the ones I usually see who are not so put out about hauling the baby in a trailer.
And it can be your secret weapon, too.
After wresting free from the house and its endless chores on a recent sunny Saturday, my 15-month-old daughter and I were free.
Bike trailers are great for kids, especially in the colder months because kids stay toasty in their little plastic and aluminum pods.
From downtown Grand Junction, we connected with the Colorado Riverfront Trail heading south on Seventh Street.
Initially, I had ideas we’d tool to Palisade. I could already smell the coffee I’d enjoy in the sun.
Ha! Such pre-kid optimism. I hadn’t accounted for hauling my 25-pound bundled-up cutie and riding atop a bike fabricated the year I was born.
Simply riding on the flats was difficult. Wasn’t I supposed to be able to coast now and then? You know, like how it is on a road bike? Nope.
It soon became clear that heading over the trail’s new pedestrian bridge at 30 Road and going uphill would be next to impossible. Furthermore, I’ve never been downhill with a baby in a bike trailer before, so the Fruit Loop’s drop into Palisade near Talbott Farms was out of the question.
No matter. We biked to the east end of the Riverfront Trail at 33 1/2 Road, and turned for home. I was getting a workout, and the baby even snoozed a bit.
Highlights included spotting coyote scat on the trail and the reflection of Mount Garfield on a placid retention pond. We biked past a kayaker seeking a new spot on the river to put his boat in.
For a break, we paused at benches at Corn Lake and I watched in awe at my darling child’s developing fearlessness of walking.
Not so fun was biking along the sidewalk on traffic-heavy 29 Road to meet up with the bike path again.
Coffee and a pumpkin crunch bagel post ride at Main Street Bagels capped the day just before 3:30 p.m. as the sun began to retreat.
I see now that local bike paths really are for people like us. I’m already planning a ride west for next weekend.