When I was 7 or 8 months pregnant with my oldest, my husband and I went to Europe for our last chance to travel in relative ease (i.e. without packing car seats, pack and plays, and seriously? All the extra crap we have to travel with these days). I waddled through Brussels, lumbered through Scotland, and surprisingly, rode a bike fairly gracefully through Amsterdam. My husband spent his formative years there and for some reason thought it necessary to drag my pregnant mass 20 kilometers around town through his old haunts. I was sure it would never work- my balance was so off when I was upright, I couldn’t imagine riding through the city and along the canals with an enormous belly under my husband’s functional but less than feminine rain jacket without falling over. But for some reason, it was like swimming, where I somehow lost that leaden feel and was able to move quickly and fluidly for the first time in a long time. Man, I rode like the wind, I’m telling you.
I wish I rode my bike more these days, I really do. We live in a very steep neighborhood which stems off a fairly busy road. The fantasy Hawaiian lifestyle of hopping on my cruiser and riding through the warm air to pick up the day’s groceries just isn’t happening. We have a flat area of the driveway where my 5 year old rides figure eights and my 2 year old chases behind him, forsaking her balance bike altogether. I’m afraid the glorious family bike rides around town and through the park are a ways out. Until then, I can live vicariously through this next book.
Frank Viva’s Along a Long Road is a great example of the kind of well-designed children’s picture book that I want to highlight with this blog. It’s a very simple book told in fewer than one hundred words, therefore relying heavily on the sharp graphics. A man on a bike rides all around the city, over a bridge, through a tunnel, up around and through and back again, ever faster.
The road is indeed long, and the beauty of it is that the continuous yellow road from page to page is glossy against the cool, modern, matte backdrop.
My friend in Missoula, MT gets to ride with her family all around town, to children’s fairs, breweries, and for gelato fixes in a super bike friendly community. I’m jealous of their outings. Do you get to ride around town with your family?