Making men


Boys on Bikes, originally published May 1919. Compliments of OldDesignShop

It started off with rides. I’m teaching Phys.Ed. two afternoons a week at the younger kid’s school. On teaching afternoons there’s simply no way to pick up Boy one unless he has a late practice. Enter the lowly bike. It’s about 18 or so km (10 miles) from the bus stop to here, most of it against the wind. I thought he would balk at the idea but he didn’t. We’ve only needed the bike solution a few times, but the effects have been far reaching. The stress of how he’ll get home those days is gone and we’ve all opened our eyes to the possibilities.

A few weeks ago, Boy one wanted a ride to the much beloved, 150 year old annual fall fair. Timing wasn’t good for me. He opted to bike. It took him an hour. He got permission to put his bike behind the village store. We picked him and his bike up after dark. For the cost of admission and the labour of transportation, he got a much appreciated day of independence.

On the weekend, Boy two was desperate to get to the library. Normally pretty happy go lucky, every once in a while he gets his mind set and becomes remarkably like a dog with a bone. Such was his need for the library. It was the third or fourth day in a row I had been grilled about it, but I didn’t know if I could manage to get him there or not.

Just last week we were chatting with the librarian (librarians = revered members of the social elite in Boy two’s world) about kids who live in town vs. kids from the country. How Boy two would be at the library every day if he could walk over, and how old did he have to be to volunteer there anyway. With Boy two now in obvious emotional pain for want of a library trip, I was feeling bad about not living in town, when I remembered the mighty bicycle.

“I can’t promise to take you. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. If you want a guarantee, get your brother to bike there with you. It’ll take you awhile to get there,” I said.

Brother tried to say no due to other plans but did not stand a chance. Normally the weaker debater, Boy two had Boy one signed on the dotted line in pretty short order. They got their music practiced, their beds stripped and some basic chores done. They filled water bottles, threw in some cold pancakes and a hunk of cheese for lunch, grabbed their backpacks for book restocking, and pedalled off. They left at 11:30 and didn’t get home until 2:00.  Due to size, they don’t make bikes for Boy two with big tires and lots of gear options, so their trip was not speedy. With book offerings for themselves and their sisters, the brothers returned home tired, but happy and taller.


7 Comments to Making men

  1. Chris Radford says:

    This is great! Healthy, happy boys!

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    That is SO neat! I have so many memories of biking and walking throughout my childhood, and I’m glad you have a place safe enough to do that. Where we live, the roads are too narrow and have too little visibility, no shoulders, etc. Bicycles are rare, so motorists don’t look for them. I hope Boy 1 and Boy 2 have many years of happy cycling ahead of them!

  3. Carol says:

    WOW What fun for the guys and I pray they always remember what a great Mom you are. Boy kids need to feel strong and able to do amazing things.

  4. Jane Parker says:

    When I was Boy two’s age, we lived in a hamlet in Maine and a bike was my only means of transport for delivering papers, getting to the swimming hole, the store, wherever I needed to go. Sometimes as a special treat, we biked to distant ponds with packed lunches. What glorious summers we had!

  5. Danielle says:

    Love it! Our Boy 1 biked to his summer jobs and percussion club the last 2 summers. Fantastic for him. Healing for me, his fearful and overprotective mother.

    • Michelle says:

      I secretly spend the time they are on the road watching the clock, trying not to panic that I am crazy to push them. Glad I am not alone on either count (Boys who ride, or mothers who quietly fret but send them anyway.)

  6. Dale Sipple says:

    So so wonderful! I love it!