Family Bonding

Eighty percent of the way through a busy weekend, I snuck out on Sunday afternoon for a Waldo session. I rode well, cleaning everything except what I didn’t try. I PRed one segment just by hitting everything smoothly.

It felt good.

On the red trail, I ran into a group of four; two guys who might have been 40 and who might have been brothers, one kid who looked about 14, an another who was probably not 10. They were dressed in sweats and looked confused. After passing them, it dawned on me that they were likely new and maybe a little lost. I turned back and asked if they knew the yellow trail was blocked in the center.

They had just discovered that, and were turned around and not sure which way to go. I helped them out with directions, then rode on, enjoying the changes to the red trail since the May 15 storm.

They were in the parking lot when I finished, the kids in the back of a minivan with the doors open, and the men drinking beer – The family version of how so many of my rides end. We chatted and they said my directions had pointed them to the most fun part of the ride. They were in fact new to riding, and had only been to Waldo two or three times.

The smaller kid said that he fell once, having hit a tree. I asked if he got back on the bike, and when he said yes, I gave him kudos.

I so wish I’d done with my kids what those men were doing with theirs.


About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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