A couple weekends ago, I was with my half of my big ol’ extended family — sisters, their husbands and kids, as well as parents and their spouses — on a vacation at Bear Lake, UT.
Naturally, The Hammer and I brought bikes along.
What was different, though, was that the twins brought their bikes along, too. See, they’ve got themselves 26″-wheeled mountain bikes now, and that has made an enormous difference in how much ground they can cover, not to mention how much they enjoy biking.
On one of the mornings, we took them for their first ten-mile bike ride, along a nice quiet road and bike path at the edge of the lake. Ten miles, of course, sounded pretty intimidating to them before we began, and so they were a little bit startled when it went by fast and easy; they weren’t tired or sick of it at all.
The Hammer and I started talking with them a little about how if they work at it, maybe in a couple of years they’d be able to ride a hundred miles.
The twins fell in love with that idea.
And so, last weekend, we started working on that goal, by heading out on the twins’ first twenty-mile ride: ten miles along a bike path out to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon, and then ten miles back.
This route was ingenious, for the following important reasons:
- It’s well-shaded, thanks to a lot of trees.
- While there isn’t much climbing, what climbing there is (600 feet over ten miles) happens on the “out” part, so that by the time you hit the turnaround point, you’ve actually done way more than half the work.
Oh, and since we’ve got a race coming up, having the twins along was also a great way to ensure that neither The Hammer nor I turned an easy ride into a sufferfest.
First, let me make an observation that every parent who has ever raised a child will agree with: age 9-11 is wonderful. The kids are big enough to be independent, but young enough that they still like you.
Which is to say, The Hammer and I got zero pushback when we suggested going on a long bike ride.
Here’s the three ladies just a mile or two into the ride:
And one with the twins and me:
A quick aside here: believe it or not, that snazzy-looking bowling shirt I’m wearing is actually a biking jersey the good folks at Club Ride sent me, with three rear pockets full of Salted Nut Rolls and everything. A very nice jersey for when you’re not in the mood to look like a bike geek.
The twins quickly fell in love with how quickly miles went by, and asked how far we had gone every few minutes — not so much in a “how much furrrrrrtherrrrr?” way as in a “We are rocking this ride” way.
A Difference Emerges
As any parent of twins will agree, watching the dynamic of your twins as they grow up is one of the most awesome experiences a parent will ever have.
In my (identical, by the way) twins’ case, it’s fun to watch how they are so similar to each other, but are finding ways to be different. They both draw, but in different styles. Both are prodigious readers, but one loves to write, too.
And one of them loves to race ahead:
While the other likes riding along at a mellow pace.
Just so long as the invisible rope that keeps them from ever being more than 50 feet apart never gets stretched.
Breaks Are Good
About five miles into the ride, we stopped for our first break at Bridal Veil Falls:
Then, a couple miles later, we took a break to take a hike to another waterfall:
And then a stop at the turnaround point in Vivian Park to eat some salted nut rolls.
And then a stop halfway back to where we started, to buy lunch.
And then — almost too easily — we were back.
Twenty miles. Easy-peasy. Keeping it fun was the key. Who’d have thought?
Evidence of Success
We stopped on the way home and bought gelato for everyone. After all, we had just been out for four hours in 90-degree (or warmer!) weather.
As we ate, one of the girls said, “I think we should ride forty miles next time.”
Honestly, I don’t think she could have said anything that would have made me happier.
PS: After we got home, we cooled down by riding our bikes to a nice little spot about a mile from home and doing this:
Yeah, not a bad day.