Lost boy, fast bike and near misses

Thursday evening my ride got off to a slow start. As I was getting ready to leave my office, I got a text from the Beautiful Redhead asking if I would be home soon. I let her know it would be about 5 minutes. Then she responded that she was driving around the neighborhood looking for Thing Three who had taken off on a bicycle and not returned. She wanted me to help her look for him on the way home.

I drove around a bit looking for him, but didn’t see him. So, I decided to go to the house and change for my ride and then kill two birds with one stone by riding my bike to look for him. Meanwhile, my wife left for her aerobics class.

Thing Three rides his bike during a charity ride

Thing Three rides his bike during a charity ride

However, as I was getting ready to walk out the door, a hot a visibly frustrated 8 year-old walked in the door. I asked him where he had been and he said that he “just walked home from Timmons Park.” I asked him where his bike was. He then started whimpering. “It is infested with ants!”

“It’s what?” I asked and followed with, “How did you ride it to Timmons Park with a fire ant infestation?” He answered, “They weren’t there when I was riding to the park, they got on the handle when I laid it down to get on the swing.” Ah, that made sense. Poor guy. No wonder he was frustrated!

We got in the truck to drive down to the park about two blocks away. We talked as we traveled about what he had done. I reminded him that he must tell his mom when he is out riding his bicycle. He responded with a typical cyclist answer.

“I was just riding my bike around the block,” he started. “Then I decided I would go to the park. I didn’t start out to go to the park.” “I understand,” I replied — and I did, I’ve done that kind of thing myself — “Still, in that case, you should have stopped back by the house to tell your mother.”

It was hard for me to be too upset with him. I am glad he likes to ride his bicycle. I am also glad that he has a sense of adventure. It is hard to balance protection with freedom. It is especially true during this day. However, I don’t want my kids to live a “riskless” life.

With him safe and sound at home, I headed out for my ride. It was a simple track down the Swamp Rabbit Trail to TR and then back into Greenville on Old Buncombe Road. This time I had my GoPro mounted on the bike with the wireless controller. It allowed me to start recording by just pushing a button on a wrist band. Here is a short comparison of my SRT and OBR routes.

The only instance I wish I had gotten was the one where I approached a couple riding side-by-side. As I neared them from behind another rider approached them from the opposite direction. The man in front of me started slowly moving into the line of the oncoming cyclist. Finally, the lone rider had to stop completely and call out to the drifting rider, “LOOK UP!”

After the errant rider jerked back to his right, the now upset cyclist continued on his way still calling out as he rode, “You’ve got to look up, people!” I must say, there are times when I definitely feel safer riding Old Buncombe Road than on the carless SRT.