Now that our grandkids are getting bigger, we are able to join them (with their parents) on the trail with their bikes. Well, our ten-year old pedals her own bike herself, and her brother rides along behind his mom on his tag along bike.
Not quite a tandem, his tag along bike allows him to pedal, but never get left behind when he grows tired. It’s a great solution for now, until he’s older and stronger, more able to keep up with the grownups as we ride.
Some of the challenges of planning a group ride include organizing and arranging a meeting time, agreeing on where to gather in one place, making sure parking is available for the various vehicles involved, and that everyone shows up relatively on time.
When we join the group, this includes two sets of grandparents, as well as parents and kids, so our most recent ride set off with our tandem, my daughter with her son on his tag along, three more adult single bikes, and my grandgirl on her single bike.
We set off from Milford on the Upper Charles Trail at Rt 109, at the IHOP parking area, and headed north toward Holliston. Milford has road crossing warning lights, so even though the roads are busy, we were able to cross with relative ease. Once into Holliston, we were on our own at grade crossings, but our son-in-law (wearing a red shirt!) stood in the street making sure we all crossed safely.
Snacks are a must on trips of this sort, and the grands knew right where to look for their snacks when we took a break at the Gazebo at Blair Square in Holliston. We crossed the 8-arch bridge, but did not stop for pictures. We were mindful of others using the trail and organizing a group picture (with bikes) on the narrow bridge was more than we were up to. We pedaled back, planning to stop at the Phipps tunnel.
Success! Everyone got the message to stop at the tunnel, we all ended up on the same side of the tunnel, stopped safely, and grabbed a photo.
Then it was time to finish the ride. A grasshopper hitched a ride on my daughter for a while, but after much discussion, it was soon encouraged to find another way to get around.
Some of us had lots of opportunity to chat along the way (tandems work well that way) and break times offered more chances to visit. But for the most part, this was simply a fun way to get outside, be active, and explore a trail together. Everyone was tired when we got back. The day was getting warm, and we all headed back home. But the fall is a great time to ride, too. Here’s hoping we can plan more group family rides together, while we can. Happy trails, and pedaling too!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.