The night before school started, I made the rounds checking the tires of every bike we would be using. Son’s bike: good and good. Daughter’s new bike: good and good. My bike: good and good. And my youngest’s trail-a-bike tire was stiff and ready to roll behind me

The morning dawned way too early, with the youngest who is going to kindergarten, waking us up excitedly at 2 a.m. And then 4 a.m. And then we let her stay up at 6:30 a.m. because the oldest was getting ready to go to high school anyway.

Once everyone was dressed in their stiff new clothes, breakfast eaten, and first day photos taken, we hopped on the bikes, ready to start the 1.4 mile commute to school. It went off without a hitch. Well, we had to maneuver around quite a few goat-head plants. Tis the season but I hope those get cleaned off the sidewalks soon.

Our school has two bike racks and we use the higher set. One side was filled with weeds, so we moved the bikes to the other side and locked them up, wished the 4th and 6th graders a great first day of school and walked into the kindergarten room.

Youngest was bright-eyed and ready to learn. Her teacher welcomed her and helped her feel comfortable with story time and coloring and everything seemed to be in the making for a nice, quiet first day of school.

Until…

School ends for the kindergartner a few hours earlier than her siblings so we walked back to the bikes ready to go home and found the Trail-A-Bike tire flat. Not just flat, but as she said “Super flat!” I checked for goatheads, nothing. But that didn’t matter, the tire that had lasted through a year and half of commuting to school and all over Farmington was flat. And in the rush of getting the kids and their new supplies to school, I didn’t have my tools. So we had a choice, walk the 1.4 miles home, or carefully bike so that the rim didn’t get warped. As not to make the youngest super annoyed from all the walking, we started with the latter as we had a hill to help with the weight distribution. Once we got to the flat frontage road, I decided that tire was too flat to have her sit on it, and remembered that the Dutch bike their kids to school with their children standing on the back carrier rack. So, I said, let’s try that.

Youngest was a bit frightened. She stood leaning on me carefully with arms wrapped around my shoulders for support as we biked slowly back. At one point she whispered “Is this illegal?” I laughed and said “no, but it’s safer for you to be on the trail-a-bike, so daddy will fix it tonight.”

And with the patches we just bought from our Loyal Bike Shop a few days prior, he did.

Dutch Kids Riding