You might be (editor: probably are) bored of tree-hauling posts by now, but I’m not. And since this is our NINTH-annual-Christmas-tree-by-bike post, and I already have kids in middle and high-schools, you’ll have to suffer through another sentimental one. The kids are growing up so fast <sniff> and our time with them is almost done. They’re already talking about their future holiday traditions, the ones they’ll start when they have their own (more stylish than our) homes and families. But for now, they’re still stuck with what passes for tradition around here.
See that cute, little, three-year-old, riding on the back of Tim’s Xtracycle Mad-Max style? He’s now twelve! And almost taller than me! AND this year, he hauled the tree home on my Xtracycle! (I hope my overuse of exclamation points has properly conveyed my enthusiastic mirth.)
Our annual tree haul-i-day adventure is my favorite family holiday tradition (editor: it’s pretty much the only holiday tradition Anne actually likes). Thankfully the kids still (sort of ) enjoy it and look forward (one of them grudgingly) to the annual trip to the tree lot on bikes. Since we’ve been doing this so many years, we like to mix it up. So far our daughter has hauled the tree and I’ve hauled the tree and Tim has hauled the tree. This year it was the boy’s turn.
Though we’re old pros at this, there’s always drama. Where are the lights to decorate our bikes with? Santa hats? Check. Is everyone dressed warmly enough?And new this year: is our daughter’s data connection functioning properly and does Tim have 9 different versions of White Christmas queued up on the bike boom box playlist? Talk about first world problems.
Typically, our most significant tree-hauling-drama always takes place ON the tree lot. I’m happy to report this year did not disappoint. Our tree-selection friction involved a number of really-crappy-worst-in-nine-years-but-still-crazy-expensive selection of trees at our local tree lot (Dear Hunter’s Tree Farm management: a fat, stubby noble shrub with a multiple crooked tops, does not a classic tannenbaum make. Please release those trees back to the wild and start over. We still love you but want you to please do better next year), a teen with a Snapchat obsession that really annoyed her dad (editor: oh, my. Yes. It. Did), and a few other cringe-worthy family happenings. (editor: There might have been yelling). So yeah, we survived another year.
Once the tree was actually purchased and bundled, it was business-as-usual. Tim had to fend off the well-meaning tree lot guys who always want to help us strap the tree to our car. And then once they realize it’s a bike, they say, as they have for nine years: “Bike? That’s a first!” (editor: sigh…)
As we’ve said before, these days we skip the elaborate custom rigging and strapping options for carrying the tree home on the bike. The first year, Tim soldered together a copper and pine running-board/wide-loader platform. It looked lovely but it was hell on Tim’s achilles tendon skin. (editor: ow. Hurts again just thinking about it). We also figured out it was a solution looking for a problem.
So here’s how we do it now: Hunter’s bundles the tree in some evil plastic-mesh to shrink it to a manageable diameter, Tim hefts it over to the bike, we throw it in the Freeloader bags, strap a couple of freeloader straps and then pedal home. No rope. No extra straps. No cases of beer required on the other side to counterbalance the tree. (editor: though as always, beer remains optional but recommended).
With the tree all wrapped up like this, the boy, on his very first xtracycle-ride, managed to get the tree home without a single crash or other traumatic incident (editor: much to his, but not our, surprise)
Once again, I’m recycling our tree-hauling photo retrospective from years past. Because I can. And I’m a sap, and because last night our daughter claimed that, “our family is weird” and “this was her last year”. So this could be our last Christmas tree post, EVER. I’m still rooting for an even decade of family-tree-hauling, but we’ll just have to see what happens over the next 364 days.
Year One: 2007, look how little!
Year Two: 2008, a dusting of snow
Year Three: 2009, the year we froze
Year Four: 2010, the year it rained a lot
Year Five: 2011, kids on their own bikes!
Year Six: 2012, looking so grown up!
Year Seven: 2013, Kids hauling trees. (She’s almost as tall as me)
Year Eight: 2014, whoa these kids are tall, but still shorter than me.
2015: We’re almost all the same height (except for Tim)
Happy Holidays, everyone. Looking forward to checking out your tree-hauling adventures.
– Anne and Tim