Sunday was unseasonably warm. Temps in the morning were in the low 40s, and they were expected to climb to 60. This meant a bike ride for sure, but what sort of ride? I hadn’t done a weekend ride in weeks, due to weather, work, minor physical ailments, you name it. So I would have loved to do maybe 50 miles solo. But if I did that in the middle of the day, it would have ruled out any riding with Nolan, my 12-year old stoker who hasn’t been on a ride at all since before Christmas, maybe November. So I decided we’d do a tandem ride.
I asked Nolan whether he wanted to go. He said yes. Then no. Then yes. It went on like this. Sometimes he refuses to do things he really likes doing. Since he is intellectually disabled, he can’t really communicate why he is objecting and you can’t really have a reasoned discussion. I was already dressed for a ride and considered doing my solo ride, but kept at him until he consented, knowing he’d come around eventually. He did, and I got him dressed in cycling clothes and we left. A 12 year old doing a short ride doesn’t really need cycling clothes, I know, but we have them (mostly hand me downs from his big brothers) and he loves wearing them.
Riding through McLean, he said he wanted waffles, so we stopped at McLean Family Restaurant, but not before checking out the pet supply store next store to visit their guard cat, Rambo. The store is closed on Sunday, but Rambo is usually there, sitting in the window. He wasn’t there yesterday though.
At MFR, numerous staff greeted Nolan warmly by name. He got his waffles, and I got a veggie omelette. As usual, Nolan wanted a picture of himself:
He looks pretty serious, but he was actually in a good mood. From there we rode to Clemyjontri. It was packed. I love pulling in on the tandem when cars are waiting for parking spaces!
Nolan loves the swing, and when it’s not packed he’ll have me push him for 30 minutes plus. When it’s packed, I have to make him stop after a few minutes to let other kids ride it. He’s never happy when I make him stop, though I have to say he handled it well when I stopped him for maybe the 5th or 6th and final time yesterday. When he wasn’t riding the swing, he did several other things at the park, more than usual. Here he is at the fire truck, looking like a serious cyclist:
When we left we went to Star Nut Gourmet in McLean for drinks. On Chain Bridge Road, while waiting for a light, a woman crossing in the crosswalk recognized us and said “You do a lot of riding around here” or something to that effect. We are pretty recognizable on our Green Gear Family Tandem. At Star Nut, I had an excellent cup of coffee – Mexican Mayan Mocha- essentially, a mocha with other spices. Think coffee mixed with Mexican hot chocolate. Nolan had a mango smoothie.
The ride home was fun. We hit a few bumps, which Nolan likes. He shouted in excitement as we went down one hill pretty fast. We got in around 5:30, just as it was getting dark. We’d left at around 11:30. Six hours for 14 miles total, plus lunch, playground, and coffee. A pretty good day.