As some of you may know, Davis is regarded as the best biking city in the U.S. There are over 200 miles of paved bike trails throughout the town of 60k residents. It’s a real hoot to see traffic jams of kids and parents on bicycles going to and from school each day.
Paco had resisted learning to ride without training wheels this past summer but we have been riding to school together on a trail-a-bike. This is a cool apparatus that turns a standard bike into a tandem with the child riding on a smaller bike behind the parent… basically a trailer that can be ridden like a real bike. He can coast along if he’s tired, but Paco prefers to pedal. In fact, he once had me coast the whole way to school so he could do all the work.
Our rides each day have been a very pleasant experience. We’re only about six blocks away from his school and most of the way is along quiet tree-lined side streets.
This afternoon his school put on an event in conjunction with the Davis Bike Cooperative and the city police called the Bike Rodeo. The children had their helmets and bikes checked to ensure that they were safe and fit properly. Bikes were then ridden on a short skills course including starting, stopping, hand signals, and a slalom course. We completed this section together on the tandem much to the amusement of the policeman monitoring the course. Paco then passed (100%!) a quiz about bicycle safety. I guess he had been paying attention to my riding because he knew the hand signals for left, right, and stop even though I never explained them to him in great detail. He also knew which hand brake controlled front and rear brakes (his section of the tandem bike doesn’t have brakes and his small bike has a coaster, so I’m not entirely sure how he picked this up other than by watching me). He’s a genius when it comes to vehicular propulsion… what can I say…
He seemed to have had a great time and insisted on riding the skills course together a second time and then riding around the park adjacent to the school before heading home. He then suggested that he was ready to try riding without training wheels on his bike (a hand-me-down from his cousin Kyle) so that he can get a bigger bike for his Birthday next winter. Then he reconsidered and suggested that we ask Los Tres Reyes Magos for the bike. In Latin American culture, the three wise men bring gifts on Epiphany, January 6, and the holiday was celebrated at his school in San Jose). He reasoned that if they bring it the bike would be free.