I recently taught my teens how to ride bikes. No, it wasn’t their first time on two wheels. What I meant to say was that I taught them how to cycle on road bikes like Tour de France cyclists use. We climbed some hills. We screamed down a mountain. My kids’ reaction?
They loved it.
We rented high-end road bikes from the Stanford bike shop. I showed my daughter how much my credit card would be charged if, for some reason, her bike didn’t make it back to the shop: $2,200. Yeah, it was a nice bike. Ultra-light titanium frame, racing wheels, Shimano gears. My son’s bike was nearly as nice, and just as fast.
We piled the rental bikes along with my Bianchi into the back of my daughter’s truck, then drove to the town of Woodside. We did a few mile warm-up on our way to the Santa Cruz mountains, then climbed Old La Honda road up to Alice’s restaurant.
The Old La Honda climb is tough. It gets very steep in some places. I can do the climb in around 30 minutes. I’ve seen amateur racers do it in 19. I figure Lance Armstrong and crew can shoot up it in 15. My kids and I did it in 45 - it was tough! (Hats off to my children for making it. Can we get one of the Tour podium girls to award a jersey, or something?)
Partway up, both of my kids were complaining about the difficulty of the climb. My reaction? I laughed my ass off. (They’ve given me so much grief over the years for not having perfectly flat abs, this was my payback.)
I also gave them climbing tips: sit back on the seat, lift with the knees (they had pedal clips), pull back on the handlebars to provide tension, keep the gear low and the cadence high.
Lunch at Alice’s was great – 1/3 pound burgers and chili fries, all around. (And no embarrassing hottie cyclist pickup attempt.)
We continued our ride to Kings Mountain Road. The climb from Alice's wasn’t as steep as Old La Honda, but it went on forever. All three of us were tired, especially with lunch in our bellies. But once we got there, we were in heaven – we descended for probably 15 minutes, passing through a canopy of Redwoods and Pines all the way down into Woodside.
Of course, I schooled my kids on the safe way to descend: weight on your pedals, not your seat or arms. If your turning left, put the right pedal down, and lean into the turn. Hold your hands in the horns of the handlebars so they can’t slip off.
After ice cream bars at Roberts Market, we pedaled a final quarter mile back to the truck. All in all, it was a twenty mile loop.
And already my kids are asking – when can we do it again?
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