There’s that phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard…it’s like riding a bike, meaning you’ll never forget how to do it. I’m one of those people that took a pretty loooong break in the bike-riding department.
I never really owned a bike as an adult until I met my husband. Obviously I biked around as a kid, but we lived on an insanely hilly street with a lot of through-traffic so it was really just me riding in circles around the driveway. So I never really used a bike to actually GO anywhere.
Michael was an avid cyclist when we met, doing 100-mile rides upstate, out of the city. He convinced me to get a bike of my own, and so I did, complete with biking shoes that clip into the pedals (I went hardcore right away)! We started cycling together and I loved it. I had been a runner, having done a few half marathons and one marathon, so I was accustomed to the long-distance effort that bike-riding took.
On one gorgeous day in September of 2008, we took what we thought was going to be an easy ride up to Yonkers and back down to Brooklyn, but we found ourselves a bit off track (this was pre-iPhone for us!) and had to carry our bikes over train tracks, through the woods, and up a hill to get back to known territory. We kind of laughed our way through it, and when we got home, Michael was all lovey, telling me how proud he was of me (not in a patronizing way), and then, he proposed. Ring and all…standing there in our living room in full spandex. No rose petals or champagne…just sweat and bike grease. It was perfect.
So this long and rambling story is all to say that now, I have a fondness for bicycles, for biking with our kids, and even for watching the Tour de France, which I had never paid attention to before Michael. (I had no idea what the word peloton was!) Watching the whole Tour de France is quite a feat (almost, but not quite, like riding in it), but even if you show your kids a few stages and explain the effort, it’s a great lesson in practice and perseverance.
Most don’t realize that cycling is not a solo sport—it’s team-oriented and is all about project management. You have to allow one person to lead, and then share that role over the course of the race. It’s all about cohesion, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and open communication—all lessons that we all can learn from. (For more detail check out this post.)
The Tour de France 2019 starts on July 7th this year and you can watch the final stage on July 28th. Here’s a fun list of facts you can teach your kids about when, where, and how this famous bike race began!
When I wrote Project Kid: Crafts that Go!, a book about vehicles, I obviously had to make a bike craft. The inspiration for this one came to me one day while I was painstakingly place Perler beads in a circle with Sommer. Here’s what you need to make this miniature DIY bicycle…
1. To make the bike’s tires, place black beads all around the outer ring of the bead form. Add spokes by creating a six-point asterisk with the teal beads, leaving the center hole empty.
2. Following the instructions on the bead packaging, have an adult fuse the beads together using parchment paper and an iron; let cool completely. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second tire. Remove the fused beads from the form.
3. Download and print the bike template and place on the cardboard. Tape parchment paper over it.
4. Insert straight pins into the ten marked points on the template.
5. Thread yarn through the center hole of one wheel, and begin wrapping the yarn around the pins to create the bike form, following the numbers on the template.
6.Work your way over to the second wheel and thread the yarn through. Continue wrapping around the pins, following the numbers on the template.
7. Once the frame is completed, knot the yarn and trim the end.
8. Use a paintbrush to apply a generous coat of tacky glue to the yarn, and let it dry. Remove the pins and flip over to apply an additional coat of glue to the back of the yarn if needed.