Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Big Ride

The kids wanted to do something special on the first day of summer. I suggested a bike ride out to Three Forks along the highway, and then back along the Galena Trail. Sophie wasn't sure she was up for it, being the least experienced cyclist. Nevertheless I spent an hour reattaching the baby seat to my bike hoping she'd rise to the challenge. She did. I took her up the driveway hill so that she could show me that she's learned to use her coaster brakes to slow down. This is a skill she didn't seem to have a couple of weeks ago. We checked -- she could do it.

So we headed out. The ride out along the highway was mostly uphill and very hot with full sun exposure. We soldiered on and were all very pleased to drop down into the creek basin at three forks, getting off the highway and onto a gentle single-track trail.

About half way back, the trail crosses Carpenter Creek. The kids always love the cable car, and this was, I believe, Fiona's first ride. The trail was beautiful, in good shape, and absolutely deserted. Because it's an old rail grade, most of it runs at a steady 3% down-grade, which was just perfect for Sophie as she's on a gearless little-kid bike. I had forgotten how narrow and precipitous the trail was beyond this point. Sophie had fortunately proved herself very reliable at riding a straight and narrow trajectory on the highway so I didn't worry about her. As it turned out it was Erin who went over the bank when Noah, trying to ride a radical high line around a curve, clipped her back tire. Both kids were a little shaken up by the mishap, though no one was hurt and Erin just slipped 6 or 8 feet down a weedy slope. Still, they know that parts of that trail, especially just below our property, drop off cliff-like into the creek canyon. They rode very conservatively as we went past the canyon.

The whole ride took us about 3 hours and the kids were very proud of their stamina. This is by far the longest ride we've done with Erin, Noah and Sophie pushing their own wheels. A litre of ice cream disappeared in fairly short order upon our return.

Tonight the kids are still full of energy and are running about on the lawn, eagerly trying to soak up every last minute of the longest day of the year.

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