The best thing (Ok, one of many, many great things) about the improved weather we’ve been having has been getting out on my bike with The Boy. I didn’t bike much with him last year for various technical reasons (insert boring story about bike frame and incompatible trailer hitch here). This summer, I want to use my bike for far more trips, like I did in Vancouver – before I had a car. So far – so – good! the Boy and I have been having a great time. Going on out with the bike significantly increases the places that we can visit within a close radius to home. We try to walk a lot and we drive too – but there are some places that are difficult to drive to (they aren’t actually accessible by car – or they are too close to justify the drive) but too far to walk (without the walk taking up all the time and leaving no time to “be” at the destination ); this is where biking can be perfect.
For example: on exercise mornings we can bike to the Y and then after we were done we can bike to Dow’s Lake to look for ducks or to throw pine cones in the water, and to look at the tulips and flowering trees.
I can honestly say that these little trips have been some of my favourite times as a parent. The Boy is very interested in what’s around him, enjoys riding in the trailer, and is thrilled about seeing the river and ducks, all of which are still very new to him.
One morning we sat on the edge on the shore where the canal meets the Ottawa River and talked about what we were seeing for almost an hour, the ducks, the crane at the Art Gallery, the high water, the sound of the cars going over the Alexandria Bridge (Mommy, what is that noise?”) and the Aquabus that came along full of tourists – (if you want to capture the imagination of a two year old – tell him that the boat he’s seeing is actually a “bus-boat” that can drive on land and in the water!)
Another time we went up to the arboretum and spent a long time watching ducks swimming, listening to the frogs, just observing.
And all of this is possible on a bike. I feel like we have an infinite number of places we can explore on the bike that were just a little bit out of reach on foot – and that my eco-guilt doesn’t always let me visit in the car – or that are tough to get to by car as well. When you think about it, Ottawa has a lot of waterfront and almost all of it (at least in the centre of town) is accessible by bike paths. We could choose a different direction to explore every day for weeks and still find new places to go.
All photos are taken on the iPod – which is easier to carry while cycling – but sometimes leaves a bit to desire in the quality department.