The Mountain Bike Life

Finding time to ride seems to be a common theme with a lot of Mom’s and Dad’s. Throw in a full-time job and extra-curricular activities and you’re lucky if you get out once a week. It’s just priorities, family and work come first. With a three day weekend coming up I thought for sure I would be able to get out. Saturday was no good, had stuff to do around the house and wife went shopping. Sunday we were going to spend some time with our friends and their two little boys so that day was out as well. Monday I thought, yeah that’ll be the day. I knew we were planning on going to a cookout later in the afternoon but I thought for sure I could get out. Well I did get out but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Eliana and Karina, all smiles after the parade was done!

Turns out my girls were asked to walk in the parade with Schools Out. Schools Out is a company that handles watching kids before and after school. Both my girls utilize their services and all the counselors that watch the kids are awesome. It certainly helps us out, especially when we both work full time. So I say that’s great, go ahead but then find out they must be accompanied by a parent. Nooooooooooooooooooo! I was planning on meeting a group up at Thacher Park to ride at 9am. My wife Natasha wasn’t feeling well and I thought it was enough for her to be going to watch the parade. With a heavy sigh I resigned myself to another day of not riding. My kids were like WOOHOO but I was like UGH. Yeah I know it sounds selfish but I was really looking forward to riding. I hate disappointment. But I put on a happy face, got our stuff together and went out the door.

Eliana handing out flags. Photo by Jeff Zemsky

Now I don’t mind walking. I also don’t mind spending time with my kids. But I am an introvert, not unhappy about that, but it’s just a fact. This introvert feels most uncomfortable being out in front of people and being the center of attention. But there I was lining up with the group getting little flags and bead necklaces to give out as we walk the route. I had this”I’d rather be biking” moment. SIGH! I looked around at everyone and they all seemed happy to be there, especially my kids, they were stoked to be there. I should be stoked too but…well you know I wanted to go biking. I thought to myself I am here I might as well enjoy it and have fun.

Karina handing out flags. Photo by Jeff Zemsky

We started walking, slowly but surely we queued up to start the parade, then we’re off. Looking around I see the smiles from faces along the parade route. I see some friends and they see me, we say hi, we all smile. I watch the smiles my girls get when they hand out a flag or necklace to another child, teenager, or adult. The smile that says “I just did something good!” I see other people, like the veterans who watch on with pride as if to say, “they’re doing all this for me and my fallen brothers and sisters.” Or the people who are watching from their wheelchairs, or the little girl with Down’s Syndrome who gave me a thumbs up and a huge smile as if to say ”you made the right choice today.” By the time we got to my wife and her parents I was I a great mood. The girls went crazy when they finally saw them along the route, smiling they stopped for a moment to talk about what they were doing. Eliana and Karina were so proud of what they had done and so was I. It was such a small thing but I think even small things can have a big impact. So today I am remembering all of our soldiers who have fought and died in service to our country. I am thinking of people who are disabled, both mentally and physically. I am thinking about how small acts of kindness can do big things. I am still thinking about my bike, but more along the lines of how blessed I am to not only have one but to be able to ride it as well. Hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Karina and I along the parade route. Photo by Jeff Zemsky
The Dirt Search!
Is Mountain Biking Fit for the Masses?