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Saturday, December 15 2018 @ 04:16 PM PST

Daughter's First Ride

Harley-DavidsonOr, a really long ride report about a really short ride.

Written Sept 1, 1999Or actually, a really long ride report about a really short ride.

My daughter Shannon just turned five. When I got the Sportster last year, I gave her a short ride around the cul-de-sac and that seemed to satisfy her for awhile. Good thing, as there's no way she could reach the pedals and I didn't have a helmet that would fit her.

Flash forward several months to the Oregon Country Fair. My daughter decides to go barefoot at the fair and ends up cutting her foot pretty bad. I bandage her at the first aid station, but then I'm faced with the problem of getting her back to the Explorer. My wife had to park just about as far away as you could get from the entrance, and I wasn't sure I could carry the kid the entire distance in a reasonable amount of time.

My Sportster was parked by the entrance, of course, with the other bikes. The solution was pretty obvious. As I carefully motored over the mud and ruts, my daughter, clinging to my back, kept saying "are you sure this is safe?"

Flash forward to August. As I've related before in this newsgroup, the logistics of riding the bike to work, and transporting the kid to and from daycare in the car, get kind of complicated. For awhile I've been working on a technical solution to the problem, to wit, footpegs remounted about 10 inches higher, an extra small helmet, packing her riding clothes on the bike so she can wear dresses at daycare.

I had everything ready for a test drive yesterday, but she didn't want to do it anymore. Some last minute anxiety -- you know how kids are. Of course you can imagine how I felt about it. I finally talked her into a trip around the block by reminding her that she had promised to do at least that much. She agreed, because a promise is a promise. (Keeping my promises to her is a high priority with me, and some of that has rubbed off on her.)

I figured, if after the test ride, she decided not to do it, I'd take the pegs back off the bike, sell the helmet and chock it up to experience. ...Insert crushing disappointment here...

Anyway, we go to the end of the street and turn right. I intend to turn left at the cul-de-sac, circle around, then head back to the house.

But since I've got her on the back, we might as well *really* go around the block. I take her to the end of the residential street and line up to turn right onto a rather busy farm road.

I know I've made the right choice when she suddenly says "Daddy, this isn't so bad. I think I could do this." A careful right turn into traffic, and head to the intersection with Highway 10. She says "Oh, this is the way Mommy took me to school!" (She starts kindergarten in a week and has been to a couple orientations.) Careful right turn onto Hwy 10, moderate acceleration, gentle braking, right turn on to our street, three blocks or so, and pull up back in front of our house. I think I held my breath the entire time. It certainly became easier to breathe when she said "Let's do it again!"

I'd write more, but I have to leave now to pick up my daughter at daycare. On the bike.


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