Freedom and independence. Name me one other thing that kids want that doesn’t come in a box. Okay, popsicles. But really, your children would rather you give them a buck and point them in the direction of the store than to hand them one out of the freezer. Unless you train them to expect that then they stop even dreaming about the adventures of going to the store.
Making the trek to our general store was an investment in fitness. Aside from the part where you’d buy one bag of salt & vinegar chips and two pieces of licorice with a penny in your pocket in the end. 25¢ went a long way back then. Every 24 months you didn’t have to ask for the quarter.
The store was in the harbour and our family home was well above sea level so the way back was a hoof. You became another degree of big kid the first time you made it up the hill on your bike without the walk of shame near the top.
My nephews Gus and Digby are the newest generation of Lund Kids that will soon be candy store bound. They are three and five and completely indignant if you tell them to wait. To wait for a grown up. They are pulling on the leash and want to brave it alone. One day they may want to hang at the mall in town. Stand around outside the Wal-Mart. Get an Orange Julia and a Jim Bit from former franchises that went rogue. For now though they are sticking with tradition and wanting to ride the dirt roads of Lund BC, dodging bears and tourists who park like they just learned how.
Bike fit was not a thing in Lund. Especially when you had two big sisters. It was more bike figure-it-out. You learned to ride on older siblings bikes because practical parents didn’t buy a new bike for a kid that hasn’t put the effort it takes to learn to ride first. Not bad logic.
Some of my deepest feelings of joy and accomplishment…or freedom and independence…were from being on my bike. Like a big kid. Like my cool big sisters. I learned by going round and round the garden with a hand on the fence and then one day letting go. After that I was like a dog let off a leash at a dog park.
There’s a lot of doing for kids. So much so that they never come to understand how to do things for themselves. Critical thinking has become oh ma gawd super annoying. This isn’t a natural state for kids and maybe you need to grow up surrounded by nature for it not to take hold so fiercely. Perhaps I’m seeing things through my hippie filter but it’s not right man.
There’s this new breed of kid that doesn’t know what wind in their face feels like unless they yell at their parents to turn up the air conditioner in the car that they’re being driven somewhere in. The deeper into that reality we get, the more grateful of my upbringing I become. And the more happy I am that the next generation of my family is where they are. Where they believe fully that I live in the CN Tower. Where learning to ride a bike is not optional. It’s a sublime reality this place that people always thought I made up for giggles.
It goes without saying that I do this ride with these two gum-booted gentlemen in mind. I’m motivated by their full force delight for a life that is lived surrounded by outside. Anything I can do anywhere in the world that might impact their futures I consider well.
The more sick children I meet the more I see that same force just wanting to be accessed. To be let off this horrible leash they are tethered to. I can’t begin to imagine how brave a parent would have to be to let their compromised child go jump in a lake. I want this for these kids. I want them to have camp. I want them to know the freedom of nature. The feeling of independence that comes from picking gravel out of their own knees. I want them to rip off their training wheels and go get a popsicle.
To donate to my ride: Tour For Kids