Inspiration From Mama Feats at Fiets of Parenthood
I thought I was speedy and skilled on my mamabikeorama. Two of my boys and I careened around the course Shetha designed for this summer's Fiets of Parenthood PDX yesterday at Clever Cycles, sure with Everett's jousting skills (which earned him first place in the Kindercross race) and my well-honed riding ability, I'd be at least in the top three.
While my time wasn't that bad, my skill level was nothing near the top of the Portland heap. I had earlier been watching a mom test out a huge platform-style box bike. She had her husband and a bunch of kids in it; Monroe hopped in, too, and she gleefully steered the passel of kids around the blocked-off street. "Is there a weight limit on this?" she asked, peddling in her dress, one hand on the handlebars.
Other inspirational biking parents were there, like Katie, who biked to the birthing center to deliver her infant daughter Kestrel -- she and her husband were pedaled home with the baby in a Pedicab. Kestrel, tiny still, was there after a jaunt with big brother Jasper and her parents to and from North Portland. A mom who had just picked up her longtail mama bike on Saturday stopped by with her two children. Travis and his family -- three boys, mom in stripey knee socks -- had made themselves matching tees, because you know, they were bringing it, their all to the competition.
I went first in the competition, and was quickly knocked out in both speed and overall skill. With a 10-second bonus for each child aboard, Emily -- with six kids of her own aboard one bicycling contraption (for the record: Bakfiets with four littles in the box, one in a rear-mounted bike seat behind that looked like it was vintage or European, and one attached via a Follow-Me tandem coupling -- a neat import that allows a parent to hook the child's bike to the parent's rear wheel) -- had most of us beat. Here's how this looks:
It's proof that my competitive spirit can be easily quelled by the wow-factor of an inspirational mama feat or two. I'm so inspired that I want to tell everyone -- did you see the mom with the six kids bike jousting? -- but it's not a one-time sight. She's bicycling Southeast Portland every day with her family, and she's not the only inspiration on the streets. Keep an eye out, and prepare to find wow-factor every day. Smile and wave when you see them, and tell everyone about the ordinary, extraordinary, Fiets of Parenthood around us.
(For the record, Travis was one of those who tied for first thanks to his three boys and four rings jousted -- and blazing speed! And next year, I think we should give extra bonuses for parents who pedal their co-parent around -- I think our winning lineup may have been different if we did.)