Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Living To Ride

Today was a bustling errand day, and it felt it.

Beyond the various and sundry folks we had come into our home to repair and maintain, there were checks to deposit at the bank.  There were socks to be purchased for a youngling who burns through them like Bogey going through a pack of unfiltered Camels.   There was swim gear to be purchased, and books to be returned to the library, all scattered across the sprawling suburban wasteland that is Northern Virginia.

It was also a lovely Fall day, and so rather than trundle about in our utilitarian but inefficient minivan, I ran the Dad-errands on the 'Strom.  It's got a nice big lockable top-box, perfect for fat bags of factory-extruded socks from K-Mart, and for stowing library books.

The swim flippers and for my increasingly immense 13 year-old were another thing altogether, too odd shaped for the onboard storage.  But being a nicely designed piece of kit, the top box pops off neatly, leaving a nice big flat space for bungeeing things. 

The day's errands concluded with the pick up of the big guy from his rehearsal.   He loped from the entrance of the middle school, past the lines of idling soccer mom minivans and SUVs to the bright yellow motorcycle, tossed his backpack into the top-box, and got on the helmet without assistance.

As he hopped up into the pillion, I flashed back to those first few rides I gave him on the old bike, oh so many summers ago, back when his little feet first hit the pegs.   He was so small, barely a presence on the bike at all, nestled in tight and clinging to Daddy's back.

A man after my own heart.
Now?   It feels more like those times I would ride two-up to Skyline Drive with a fraternity brother riding pillion.   There's a man sitting back there.  As he leans back easy against that ever useful topbox, he fills the back of the bike.  His mass and size are palpable, shifting the dynamics and the balance.  But he sits calm and relaxed, an old hand at this, and we shout out our father son chatter as we burble down Columbia Pike. 

And so, for most of my dayful of suburban parental-unit schlepping, I make do with two wheels, racking up three times as many miles per gallon of go-juice, and taking pleasure in the tasks and the day.

It's good to be the Dad.  But it's better to be the Dad on the bike.