• Michelle Vernal

Family Bonding


Mountain biking is an interesting way for someone with tendencies toward anxiety who likes to know what is around the corner to spend her Saturday afternoon. It is, however, something that we can do together as a family. I think it’s one of those pursuits I like the idea of because I’m like Camp Leader bustling around getting ready to set off on our adventure. I like saying to people that I enjoy mountain biking too because it makes me feel like I have another interest other than wine. Having said that I used to like the idea of hot air ballooning too until I got stuck up the top of the Oxford A&P show Ferris wheel for what felt like a lifetime but was probably only five minutes of listening to the carriage creaking as it swung on the breeze.

Anyway, we announced our plan for the afternoon over soup and toast and the boys proceeded to moan about having to go biking. One of them, and I’m not naming any names here went so far as to say it was gay. I said, ‘In my day son gay meant having fun so get in the car.’ Paul was loading the bikes onto the back of the Toyota, and after a family pow-wow we decided to try a new circuit at Bottle Lake. I think the boys were hoping it would be shorter than past tracks we’ve pedalled around. It wasn’t. Ha!

Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start when two minutes into the ride we hit a stupidly steep hill. Josh stopped without warning and got off his bike. To avoid going up the back of him, I swerved over to the gravel and realised I wasn’t going to make it to the top. I hopped off, felt my feet slide on the shingle and me, and the bike went tumbling backward.

I landed with the bike seat jammed where the sun doesn’t shine, and as I lay on the gravel path, I wondered for a split second if I’d been hurt. I knew I hadn’t when my next instinct was to check that nobody had seen what happened. Josh was stood at the top of the hill trying not to laugh in case it was serious which made me yell at him to ‘come and get the bloody bike off me.’ Up ahead I could hear Paul shouting as to what the hold-up was. I got up and dusted myself down; then, just like you’re supposed to get back in the saddle if your horse throws you, I bravely hopped back on my bike. I pushed it up the hill this time, and when I saw my husband up ahead, I was hoping for a bit of sympathy. He decided to run with the tough love approach and away we went again.

Daniel was the next to come off and was adamant he’d hurt his rib. We said ‘ribs son,’ and he said no I’ve only got one on each side. The rest of the ride passed without drama, and we made it back to the carpark. Tomorrow the forecast is for rain; I think we’ll hunker down at home.

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