All posts tagged: biking

Me and Malibu Pilates. And of Course, This Week at Motherlode

I got sucked in by an infomercial.

I haven’t exercised in months. I had pneumonia last, um, August. And although that excuse obviously eventually became somewhat less than valid (I think even the most sympathetic of us would have to agree that I am probably all rested up now). you know, one thing led to another, I finished a draft of my book, auditioned for Motherlode, took the job…I was busy, ‘kay?

But inspired by a variety of things: this great Real Simple series on Time, my ever-softening midriff, my third annual jaunt to the Waterbury, VT “Gravel Grinder” season-opening ride (23 miles, 3000 vertical feet) and my general feeling of just never, ever having enough energy, I’ve relaunched ye olde exercise plan. Oh, and also picked up this book, The Power of Habit (awesome excerpt in the NYT magazine a couple of weeks ago) in the hopes of improving a few things here and there, the whole workout thing being one of them.

I’m well on my way. First of the season bike ride last week, and then a surprise snow dump up here at what we like to call the “higher elevations” (which means we can often see down to neighbors who didn’t get snow when we did) led to the first–and last–time we will groom our trail this season.

I am willing to bet you never imagined this was what I did with my free time.

But snow is over (although at least I finally remembered why we like the stuff) and biking, while fantastic, too time consuming to make up the whole of anyone’s fitness routine. I won’t run on the treadmill, like my husband. I won’t ride an exercise bike, like my husband. (I think this has something to do with not watching Sports Center, as they seem somehow connected.) What to do, what to do…

And then there I was, couch bound, while Rob scrolled the on-screen TV guide, which we mostly do so we can mock the movie descriptions, when I say “Susan Lucci Pilates.”

I have no idea what made me say “what’s that?” Perhaps I am still trying to remember if she ever son that Emmy. Maybe I have “All My Children” Flashbacks. I don’t know. Put I made him stop, and there was THIS:

It was so small. And it looked so easy. And everyone using it looked so sculpted. And even Rob said “that does look kind of okay.”

I think I now have to pay them $15 a month for eternity or my money back. Or something like that. It came Friday, and my first workout today consisted of dragging it up the stairs and removing all the packaging. DVD Number one is in the computer, ready to fire up first thing in the am. No excuses. 20 minutes. I’m doing it, on weekdays, for the next four weeks, so help me.

And then I’ll either be telling you all how awesome it is, or trying to hide what an idiot I am (an idiot who also owns something called “Beach Body” and the “Cardio Zumba Kit”) while I look for someone to take it off my hands on Craigslist.

At work tomorrow, AFTER my 20 minute malibu something-or-another-workout, and if I am not trapped in the springs of the chair. I get to choose among the panelists for the first Motherlode Book Club: Anne and Sam Lamott’s “Some Assembly Required.” I’m half way through, and this ought to be a great discussion. And I’m stalking my next selection–a fantastic, controversial book that I”m dying to talk about on Motherlode. Can’t tell yet, though.

I’ve got guest posts to read (sorry, waiting authors)–this is one of those habits I need to work on: faced with the choice of writing or reading and editing, I tend to write, because that’s what I KNOW gets the job done. But the fantastic goes posts we’ve had in the past few weeks are adding so much to the blog and the discussion, and I’ve realized I love that part of the job too. It’s just that when I’m bouncing around a research study here and a great Times article there, I keep too busy writing to read. I’m working on it.

Last week I knew exactly what was coming up on Motherlode—this week, it’s all open. I’m planning to write about the dumb, pricey things we buy when we’re first time moms (hello, Muzzy Spanish DVD set!). And maybe this will be the week I finally pull together the work I’ve been doing on raising “imperfect” kids, or (less likely) on chemicals and their impact. Guest posts? So many possibilities, I can’t even give you a preview. I’ve planned out my workouts, but not my work week! Yeah, but that I KNOW I’ll get done.

KJMe and Malibu Pilates. And of Course, This Week at Motherlode
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The Family that Bikes Together

I’ve been all worried about my own balance, but we’ve achieved some very important OTHER feats of balance around here:

I'm beating you Wyatt!

Rory and Wyatt are both officially bike riders.

This is big news in a family where biking counts. The VT 50 for Rob (50 miles of mountain biking). 50 in the Prouty for me and Sam, once with him on a tagalong and this year, I think, with him on his own wheels. Last year he did 35. Mountain bike camp for Sam. Road bikes, mountain bikes, in-between bikes–we even have the double tagalong for two to ride:

The Family that Bikes Together

I hate pulling the double tagalong, actually, but it’s better than not riding.

And I always want to ride.

I won't go out unless it's at least 40 degrees, though.

Biking is maybe even stupid important in our lives. To me, and to Rob, biking is what proves that we can have four kids and still do everything we want to do, even though we patently can’t. This leads us to do extraordinarily stupid things, as when we returned from China on, I think, a Wednesday and rode 25 miles in the Prouty (which is a ride in support of cancer with a variety of routes ranging from 200 miles down to 19) on Saturday–with Rory and Wyatt in the baby bike trailer (we didn’t have the tagalong yet, and they would have been too small anyway).

We did this because we are stupid, and because we are stubborn, and because we never miss the Prouty, never, and everyone said we couldn’t LEAVE Rory, not so soon after we got home, so we handed her a bag of Doritos, buckled her in next to Wyatt and left them to battle it out. One or the other of them was screaming for about 19 miles. There are no pictures of that. Because it was stupid. Did I mention stupid?

We were even stupider (I know, more stupid, but if you’re the stupid one, I think stupid is a fine word) two months later when, after acquiring the double tagalong, we implemented it in a 19 mile “Tour de Taste” for Rob’s birthday. Rory rode solo on the single tagalong while Rob pulled the double with Lily and Wyatt, and she—still exhausted on a daily basis just from the stress of dealing with us, and English, and life in general—was good for about fifteen, because she is a really good sport. Then she fell asleep, on the tagalong, over and over again, with us waking her up and hollering and pouring water on her and just in generally being the worst possible human beings because we somehow felt we had to complete our circle instead of, duh, having Rob ride ahead and come back with the car.

We thought she’d stay awake after the water.

She didn’t.

She fell off.

We don’t have pictures of that, but we do have this lovely one of what Sam looked like after Rory fell off and so he rode ahead trying to catch Rob and get him to turn around and help me—and then he fell off.

Rory's wounds were all on her leg and hands. She still has a scar.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a worse mother. I’ve tried to moderate my idea of what I think will be big fun for the whole family with what’s really possible for the whole family now, but I don’t always succeed.

And yet we still bike. And Rory and Wyatt are determined to keep up. Rory rode to victory first (hardly surprising, given her amazing balance) and Wyatt could not let her beat him. And once they took off, they kept going.

It's a mountain bike, right?

Even with all the disasters, all the kids clearly think of themselves as once and future cyclists. They caress the bikes in the bike store with passion. Turn the pages of Bicycling Magazine. Beg for more and longer rides.

Even after you fall off and get back on (although we did NOT make Rory or Sam get back on after their double crashes that September), biking is fun. Maybe it’s the falling off, surviving and getting back on to bike another day that makes it fun. The picture with all of us, above, is us doing that same ride the kids fell off during the year before, and not one of us, not once, suggested not going. For last year’s Prouty, it rained so hard a friend’s kid wore swim goggles—and all four of us who’d planned to ride slogged along for 35 damp miles.

There’s something about a machine you power with your own legs and effort, something free. And there’s something about doing it together. And there’s something about just keeping doing it, no matter what, about having fun and keeping going under any and all conditions. (Although I am trying to bring a little balance to that one.) I hope that’s the lesson the kids take away from all this two (and three) wheeled craziness: that no matter what happens, you can nearly almost always get up and ride.

Not only that, but you can ride just about anything.

KJThe Family that Bikes Together
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The Double Trailer Bike

Today we acquired a–doubly used–double trailer bike. Also known as a double tag-a-long bike. In essence, it’s a tandem tag-a-long, because the riders must pedal in unison (although not with the adult doing the pulling).

We are, collectively, very, very thrilled. We–in the form of me, Lily and Sam–tried it out, for all of a block. A great deal of core strength is required to keep us upright, so I feel this will be very good for me, although I am more than a little dubious, for various reasons, of Sam and Lily’s plan that we will “ride the fifty” on it. Among other things, I don’t know who would undertake such a ride with us, because Sam’s friends are mostly, I think, planning on trying to ride 35 under their own steam. Maybe they would settle for the extended Tour de Taste. Or maybe we will try it. I’m not 100% sure exactly where we are going to use this, but we have big, big plans, so I’m sure something will become clear. Lily and I could, for example, pick Sam up at school.
On the ride home, we–and in this case the we means Sam, Lily and Wyatt, discussed, at length and one might even say ad infinitum, all of the various permutations of riding the double trailer bike that might be possible. Lily, with Wyatt behind her, Sam on his bike and Rory on the tag-a-long behind Daddy. Sam and Lily on the double and Wyatt and Rory in the actual bike trailer. Lily and Rory on the tag-a-long and…well, you get the picture. There were negotiations–who would sit in front? Why? Who would ride the solo tag-a-long and again, why?

They do this all the time. Who will sit next to who on the next airplane ride? What will who give who else for his or her birthday? Who will have what carseat? Who, on that long-awaited day when “Hanover Lollipop” opens, will work which shift? The plans, the negotiations are constant, and today I realized:

This is what happens when lawyers breed.

KJThe Double Trailer Bike
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