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Labor Day Mountain Biking—and What Family Requires

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Two words that have nothing to do with each other collided with me on Labor Day a few years ago. Consider two completely unrelated terms:

BI·CY·CLE. noun: 1. A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals.

MOUN·TAIN. noun: 1. A natural elevation of the earth’s surface having considerable mass, generally steep sides, and a height greater than that of a hill.

Labor Day Mountain Biking—and What Family Requires

(Photo: By Zach Dischner. Digging In, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The term, “bicycle,” or “bike,” conjures images of family outings. You know, leisurely rides in the neighborhood or on country roads. Beautiful fall trees, cool breezes, and laughing. The word “mountain,” gives mental pictures of awe and inspiration. Colorado comes to mind. Snowy peaks. “Rocky Mountain High” and cool clean rivers. I want to go there.

But put these words together—mountain bike—and the mood changes altogether. And laughing becomes a wholly different sound.

Ask me how I know.

Welcome to Family Time via Mountain Biking

My first adventure with mountain biking occurred on a Labor Day. My wife and daughter wanted to go biking at the state park near our home, so I joined them.

Sometimes, spending time with family means you do what you wouldn’t normally choose.

mountain biking

(Photo: By Pdemille. Own work. CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

As we biked through the forest, two random phrases kept coming to my mind.

Yeah! Oh, this is great!
Dear God! Help me! Oh no, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I learned that mountain biking in loose sand is like riding a stationary bike. But only for a moment. Then it isn’t stationary. You fall sideways.

As my wife and daughter and I stopped to catch our breaths, we moved over to let another biker pass us on the trail. He was coming fast and was clearly more experienced. And to him, we were clearly less experienced.

“You guys picked the hardest trail to ride on.” He dropped this nice phrase on us as he blew by. Standing in his dust, I realized his words implied several facts:

  1. You don’t know what you’re doing.
  2. You’re obviously novices at this.
  3. I am better at this than you.
  4. The fact that you’re mountain biking on the hardest trail proves the first three points.

What Family Requires

The next morning the muscles in my arms, abs, back, and bottom felt like rubber bands. Even my inner ear hurt.

But sometimes this is what quality family time requires.

Tell me what you think: What did you do on Labor Day? To leave a comment, just click here.

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