His First Ride

It is a sunny, lovely, cool-and-warm-at-the-same-time kind of day, auspicious in its possibilities. A perfect day for our three-month-old son’s first bike ride, I think as I wake up that morning. I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I figured I would know it when it felt right.

My husband and I excitedly strap him into his special bike trailer, and my husband pulls him as I ride along beside, making sure he’s OK. We ride on quiet neighborhood streets and the Santa Rosa Creek Path; all the while he smiles delightedly. My mind drifts back to being pregnant and riding everywhere, right up to two days before he was born. I hoped then, as I pedaled, that he was learning to love the gentle swaying as my body moved in rhythm with the bicycle. Now, as he rides out of the womb for the first time, I am so pleased that he enjoys it, watching the world gently drift by.

This definitely marks a rite of passage for him, as he will be spending a lot of time on the bicycle. It is a gift I wish to give him, this love of fresh air, muscle power and going at a speed which allows us to soak in all of the sights, sounds and smells around us. I yell up to my husband, “He loves it!” and we grin at each other gleefully, so happy that his first bike ride is a good one. I have not been on the bike much lately myself, and my whole body is singing as we pedal together as a family for the first time.

I begin to daydream about all the bicycle trips we will take, my mind racing with possibilities. Even rides to the store and rides around town will seem like grand adventures with my son in tow. I look over at him as he sits there contentedly, and I tell him, “Welcome to the beautiful world, little one. This is how we live.”

Sarah Hadler works for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition as the Safe Routes to School Program manager in Sebastopol. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].