I love how everyday chores can become adventures when you get a 6-year-old involved. Last Sunday was hot but beautiful. My family wanted to grill out for dinner but the weekend got away from us and the kitchen was bare. I figured there was no time like the present to get used to my mission to live mostly without a car so I decided to make a bike trip to the grocery store. My son thought it was the coolest idea he’d ever heard. He wanted in. Who was I to deny him the pleasure of tagging along?
The ride to the grocery store from my house is almost four miles but I swear it was uphill the entire way. Isn’t it funny how you don’t really notice most hills unless you’re on foot or a bike? Boy did I feel them this time. As I was wheezing my way up a steep side street trying to push through the burning sensation in my thighs my son Keegan yelled, “Go faster mom! This is boring.” I whispered pathetically, “Are you kidding me?!” I didn’t even have the strength to shoot him the stink eye.
When we pulled into the parking lot I was a dripping hot mess. Mine was the only bike on the lonely rack at the Edina Cub Foods. I unhooked my Bontrager saddle bags and held my head high, trying not to focus too much on how gross I looked nevermind smelled. A tip: if you’re looking to find a date in the produce aisle, you may not want to ride your bike to the store. Good thing I was only at the store to pick up dinner.
My list was relatively short: brats, buns, mustard, milk and charcoal. But you know how everyone swears you can’t get out of Target without spending $100? I have that experience every time I go to any grocery store. And it was about to happen again despite the fact that I left my car’s trunk at home. For some reason I thought a gigantic watermelon would be a good dinner fruit. Why not grapes? Because I’m crazy. It was hard to miss the people looking at us in awe as I pushed my full grocery cart up to my bike. Even I began to think I may have overdone it. But I didn’t have a choice. I packed that Burley trailer and basket like I was headed to the airport with only a carry-on and we were off. As we coasted downhill toward home I was grateful for the pull of gravity. And Keegan, kicking back with a smile on his face asked, “Mom can we do this again?” I giggled to myself. If only he knew.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.