First, I need to confess something: I was not thrilled when we stopped doing the Tour de Kota. I’ve never ridden the 400+-mile tour, but I’ve volunteered on it and always thought it was a very cool event for South Dakota.
I love anything long distance.
So when we switched to the Tour Sioux Falls — a day of activities along the 20-mile bike path and then a Cyclovia downtown, where the streets are open only to bikes — I just wasn’t sure. I mean, I ride and run the bike trail all the time. How are you going to make this interesting? And the Cyclovia … well, what? What IS that, anyway?
But I’m up for anything, so after soccer for Jack on Saturday, I loaded them up in the bike trailer and headed out. We got a late start, so our first stop was Falls Park, for the lunch that came with the price of admission. The kids loved it, and we saw so many young families we know. It was great, and anything is better than making yet another meal at home.
Then we headed south — after getting their passports stamped — and hit Pasley Park, where there were snacks and inflatables. Jack and Viv had so much fun jumping around, and there weren’t a lot of kids when we were there, so they had a lot of freedom. And burned a lot of energy.
I heard so many people say they had never ridden this far on their bikes, or had never seen a certain part of the bike path. And that’s when I realized: Our yearlong effort as a media company to spread the fitness word was starting to work. This wasn’t a day for the elite (though there were crit races, too, for serious cyclists). This was a day for families and new cyclists to have fun, see the path and have the confidence to see how far they could go. My friend and her 12-year-old son rode the entire path — his first time around.
How fun is that?
On Sunday, we got another late start, but made it to the Cyclovia in time for the bike races. My friend and her kids came, too, and brought Jack’s bike for him (I rode them up there in the Burley, but there was too much traffic for a new cyclist to navigate to the closed course).
Jack was by far the youngest kid in the “no training wheels” division. Man, he had fun. He came in last in his heat — after falling off his bike taking a corner (but he got back up and kept going like it was no big deal), but he didn’t care. He LOVED it. And got a finisher’s medal.
Here are some photos:
Two sleepy kids. Yay!
After the bike race, we rode the entire 2.8-mile route — and Jack rode the whole thing, on his own. How awesome is that? It was wonderful to know he was able to go wherever and I didn’t have to worry about cars.
And he did the bike rodeo, which was cool.
The only rough part was getting back to Falls Park, where I totally forgot to take the roundabout way on the bike path and instead directed him into traffic along a horribly busy street. I wish I knew the two cyclists who were near me, who helped basically corral Jack and herd him close to the edge, as cars zoomed past us. And then who were there as he tried desperately to stop going down a hill, which ended in a busy street. It was, for me, a terrifying few minutes where tragedy was constantly flashing in my mind, but it ended up OK.
Then we played at the park there for an hour or so, seeing more of our friends, and headed home.
We spent almost the entire weekend outside. And most of it on two wheels.
Jack and Viv loved the bike events, I loved seeing my friends out and I really, really loved feeling like an active, happy family enjoying a beautiful day in the city I love.