Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out of Shape!

Lack of posts on this blog mean that I've been a shut-in without a car, going no where, seing no one, doing nothing...NOT! I just have been to busy and I've started several posts here and never finished them. I figured out the other day that we ride the bus on average 8 different times a week. That would be $16 dollars since Parker is usually with me for each ride so I feel we are definitely getting our money's worth. However, we may ride less as the weather warms up. Yesterday was completely a biking day for us because of the better weather. This highlighted to me what terrible shape I'm in.

When I was nine months pregnant with my youngest (now 1 1/2 years old) I was carrying my pregnant bod and my two boys (then 3 and 7) on my Xtracycle with our stuff and doing fine. Monday I biked 6 trips for a total of 8 miles... all them with at least one kid on the bike and pulling a bike trailer and some of them with 2 kids in the bike trailer and one in the Peapod on my Xtracycle. The bike trailer really slows things down, but is helpful when the weather is chilly in the morning to keep the kids warm or if we are expecting rain. We live in a area where most people would not see any hills, but for our town, we live on a "hill" and I could feel that yesterday since each trip ended at our house. I really need to get back into cycling shape if I'm going to be able to haul the kids around.

Today was rainy so we did some supplemental grocery shopping and a trip to the UFL via bus. It wasn't raining when we walked to the bus stop, but we just missed our bus so we walked further down the street and then waited and ended up getting soaked and the kids got very muddy, but it wasn't too cold so we were fine. I didn't need a lot of groceries so I brought 3 bags and distributed the weight among the boys and me (don't need the 1 1/2 year old to carry her weight yet since most of the time I'm carrying her).

We did a presentation for our homeschooling group this week on how to ride the bus, what it teaches children, and some of the benefits. The kids were excited about the presentation, but in the end my middle son was in a mood so he didn't say much. I'm always amazed at the people I meet who have NEVER ridden a city bus before...ever. Many people are intimidated by it.

Some of the skills kids (and adults can learn from riding the bus):

*Map reading. My dad would be so proud. He is a big map guy and I would tune out quite often as a child when he would show me maps for this reason or that. I just couldn't picture how all the lines and dots and things was meaningful to me who just wanted to experience it all. Well, very quickly as a young adult, I came to appreciate being able to read a map and find my way around. Traveling and experiencing life can be so much more fun if you have a map to find the places you want to go. My nine year old is showing a fondness for maps and enjoys figuring out what buses to take and how to get around town.
*Street names. This all goes along together really. When we are in the bus, even more so than walking or riding our bikes, we learn the street names. Many of the buses in our town announce the streets coming up. The kids like to pull the wire to tell the driver to stop so they pay close attention to the street names and where we are so they know when to pull.
*Directions. East, west, north, south comes to life when you are taking the bus. The buses in our town are colors and direction and we need to know what direction we are going to know which bus to take. The kids then are able to tell which way is what direction when we are standing in our house or on some street corner. They are many times quicker than I am in figuring out the direction.
*Time. Time is a hard concept for many children. A minute, a day, a month, a year. All hard to conceptualize. Not only does riding the bus help kids learn to tell time, it also helps them have a feeling for how long a half hour is or 10 minutes, etc.

More on the benefits of mass transit soon. (I know, you just cannot wait!!)


  1. Chomping at the bit, chomping at the bit :)

    I got an email from my SIL about involuntary car-freedom... but no, she coudln't ride a bike because both times she'd tried she'd crippled her knees... it wasn't because it was a mountain bike because she rode her daughters bike and even in the lowest gear.
    I explained that it was seat position that did a person's knees in (but that I understood if she still didn't want to ride)... and got back an jubilant email because she had raised the seat and gotten to the store to meet an urgent need for almonds for a "gotta have it done by 5:30" project. Who knows, mebbe she found an endorphin or two...

  2. Sioux that is a slight issue with my Xtracycle. We had the frame of the Marion built to my specific size, but then when we mounted the Peapod on the frame we had such a small amount of frame to work with (I'm a shorty, I guess) that the foot rests on the Peapod interrupt my follow-through so I put my foot in a different position on the peddle when I'm on the Xtracycle than on my Lemond road bike. With two kids I just made due, but this time with three I think I'm going to have to figure out a work around. I also hurt my knees in our car accident so I have to be kind to them. I think proper bike seat height and fit is a big reason why people don't stay on their bikes. Same as bad shoes keep some people from walking.