Yesterday, while heading to REI, I heard my name and friendly shouts coming from a biker in the distance. It was something like”Hey Anne, you’re not normal” (referring to the post I wrote the other day)
Not sure who it was, I did a U-turn and coasted down the hill to have a look. It was Brad on his Big Dummy, with 2 kids and his awesome mom, pedaling up Yale on their way to REI as well. We chatted a bit and continued up the hill together.
It’s always so fun to run into other familes on bikes out and about in the city. I can’t help but stop and chat with them.
Usually it’s me calling out to fellow Xtracyle riders. Much to my daughter’s chagrin, I love to shout out in a much-too-loud and super embarrassing way when I see another family biker on the road. It’s even more embarrassing when Tim does it because his voice is loud and he says it with feeling.
Favorite refrains are: “Hey Xtracycle” or simply “Xxxxxtracycle” or “Looong Bike” or “Family Bikers Rule” They find that one especially mortifying.
When the kids are with me, I can (almost on cue) expect a “Maaaammmm” or some other version of, ” mom, quit embarrassing me. Why do you have to talk to everyone?”
I assume Brad’s kids are too young to be embarrassed of their dad! And they just sat on the back of the bike and smiled.
Does anyone else participate in this behavior? What are your shout outs for other bikers?
My shout outs have not made it out of my mouth yet. There is little to no cycling in my area. When I do travel to ACTIVE cycling communities like Chapel Hill / Carrboro, NC my mouth drops open and I gaze in amazement at a Xtracycle passing by, At a family all riding together, At bike racks in front of business, all the things I normally don’t see. If I did see a Xtracycle or another Big Dummy in my home town I’m afraid I would yell so loud as to scare them into a sprint. I’ll have keep that in mind. LOL
I enjoy your posts and thanks for sharing…
Oh YES!!! It’s just starting to get fun around here because we now DO have others to whom we can shout out. I do often call to them by their bike name “Hey, Xtra!” or “Cool, a Madsen!” butI haven’t yet started the “Family Bikers Rule!” call, but may have to give that one a go.
“Family Bikers Rule!”
Glad to see your back! I do it too….and while don’t have kids to embarrass my wife fills the roll nicely!
It’s true that my kids are not yet embarrassed by their bike bound predicament but I hope that they will look nostalgically on their early years cruising around on the “family bike”. That day, the kids went crazy in REI, we got a sweet double sleeping bag so that I can take them both easily, and my very beginning rider mom made it back and enjoyed it. It was a great day. Oh yes, and we went camping the very next day and the kids loved that too. Not a bad life.
I wonder sometimes if identifying with the family bike culture isn’t too akin being in a real cult, where you need to consume great amounts of media in order to keep your spirits up and mind with the program. I was once riding with Kent Petersen on a fundraiser ride for Bike Works and we were with about 30 odd cyclers at Dearborn and Rainier, a busy intersection for bikes and cars. He looked back at all the cyclers and said “feel the velorution?”, to which I retorted, by pointing ahead to the hundreds of cars cued up in all directions “oh sure, we’re really sticking it to them.”
That said, I drove a number of miles yesterday and felt tired and worn, while today, I rode with the kids everywhere and felt energized and alive. It helped that we went swimming.
Still, it is so great to see a kindred spirit and especially one so lovely and brilliant as you are, Ann. Keep up the great blog. Hope to see you all soon.
I’m so happy to see you blogging again, and to prove it, I’m going to emerge from the lurker shadows and write my FIRST EVER comment to a blog.
I do this, too, calling to people with a hearty “Xtracycle” or cheerleaderish “Yay family bikers!” It’s strange because I am not usually compelled to talk to strangers (see part about lurking above). But when I see family bikers, I do. If they stop to chat, I feel a bit sheepish, because I don’t know much about bikes, so I can’t talk gear. So instead I spill about how life has changed since I got my xtracycle.
Xtracycles are a bit thin on the ground here in Melbourne, but when I am out and about on The Blobinnator, other utility-style cyclistes and familybikers do rubberneck a bit when we go past; it’s on the tip of my tongue to say something in acknowledgement, but what?
Actually, I’ll admit it, it’s my 5 yo boy Max who does the calling out, and more as encouragement to me, like he uses his voice to mark out tempo, as if I’m a slave rowing on a trireme.
When I pick him up from kinder (with our 2 and half yo Gracie in the Pea Pod), there’s a couple of nasty short sharp hills: I’m down to the granny gear, and nowhere lower to go, and he starts this chant, bellowing – as a 5 year old rumbunctious boy can – Go Daddy! Go Daddy! Go Daddy! – and he doesn’t give up until when it get to the top.
Works every time 🙂