Today was a different kind of ride than yesterday. Today we took the Davis Bike Loop, a quite well-signed and mostly separated 12 mile loop around the city of Davis.
Ordinarily, 12 miles of flat would be pretty boring. We jazzed it up by riding it with 4.5 year old Ruth taking her own bike.
I was worried about the ride going into it. The route is mostly bike path, but parts are on roads, which Ruth had never ridden on before. 12 miles is also a long way. We certainly didn’t set any speed records, but it went really well.
The plan was for Anne to go first with Max in the trailer. Ruth would follow, with instructions to stay behind and follow Mommy. I would go behind, coaching Ruth on lane position, watching for obstacles and traffic, and generally keeping things moving.
We checked out of the hotel and pulled out of the parking lot to start out on road. Ruth did a good job of following and keeping her position. After half a mile or so, we were on the path.
Davis being a college town during a holiday weekend, the path was pretty quiet. We meandered through, cutting through parks and gardens. Anne tended to get a bit ahead, which meant Ruth could be a bit inconsistent with speed. I wanted to follow pretty close, which meant I needed to match her. It was never too fast, but I sure needed to keep my hand on the brakes.
We stopped at a playground at about the halfway point to let the kids run around. Ruth said she was having fun, but also using up her energy. That didn’t stop her from chasing Max around the playground, of course. She seemed excited about finishing the ride, so we got moving again.
There were several bike overpasses. Sometimes, Ruth would power up them. Sometimes she’d need to walk the bike a bit. After all, she’s on a single speed cruiser. At the top, she’d cheerfully hop back on and coast down the hill.
She did well on the road, although I think she got tired of my reminders about positioning. “I know, Daddy.” “I know you know, but i have to say it anyways.” Only once did she veer too far to the left, but a stem reminder corrected things.
We got to a stoplight which turned yellow after Anne passed through. Ruth followed my directions to stop, and we went through at the next one.
At one point, Ruth thought it would be fun to sneak up on Mommy. That was kind of fun, but “tiptoeing” up involved going slowly. I tried to encourage fast tiptoeing, but only with partial success.
We passed through some community gardens, growing all sorts of veggies. Anne was jealous.
As the ride wore on, I could tell Ruth was wearing out. She wanted to stop for water more often. She would stop on the uphills a little sooner. She’d also straight up say she was getting tired, although that she would see if she would finish. I told her I thought she would.
The last bit had some overlap with the end of yesterday’s ride, although we took a slightly different route through the campus. Finally, we made it back to the hotel, were we had left the car. Ruth had ridden the whole thing!
We packed up and got lunch, where Ruth enjoyed a much deserved cookie.