A lovely tale of mobility and sunshine
The last Sunday of summer (boo) it is. A lovely day, too, especially for those running the Army Run.
Me, no. I’m not running. I have to take Middle Daughter to her first session with the Ottawa Childrens Theatre downtown at 10 am. I live in Nepean, in Trend-Arlington. Daughters are not far from the Civic Hospital with their dad. Except for Eldest who’s having a sleepover with her running mate and family, most of whom are also running. Oh yes. She’s a sea cadet and of course they participate. It’s not her first time; she ran that 5K when she was four years old and won the Cuteness Award that year.
I don’t want to drive downtown because Army Run and bleh, driving. Why bother with it when you can bike. Middle Daughter loves biking. So I suggest we use two wheels to get to theatre, about 9km from her house mostly on paths. Sure!
But wait, I say. Your big sister is running at 8 am. Want to leave early and go wave at her? Sure! And she does; while the rest of her household snoozes along, she gets herself up and ready to be picked up by me. This display of sisterly love melts my heart.
I leave my place in the dark just after 6 am to be at her door by 7. My ride is almost exclusively on paths, along the Experimental Farm. I pick her up and we make our way to Scott St and along the path to Bayview station then the War Museum following the Ottawa River. The rising sun is hitting the calm water just so, it’s nearly gorgeous enough to hurt my eyes. We have plenty of time to get there so we go slowly, enjoying the musty smells of early autumn I mean late summer, saying hi to the bunnies, chatting about this and that but mostly that.
As we pass the Bayview LRT station I think, hey, want to take that later today? We have a subway in this city now, and apparently you can take your bike aboard. Wanna do it? Oh yeah, why not.
The area around the War Museum is packed with people, we get off our bikes and walk them to a suitable watching spot just past the starting line. It’s 7:45. We munch on strawberries I brought in my bag and settle in to watch the runners go by. There’s lots of them, and finding one 12-year-old in that crowd may not be easy even if I know her face better than anyone on the planet. But we do! There she is!!! We wave like crazy, smile and cheer and woot-woot. “Don’t give up!!! You can do it!!!”
Yeah, Mother, we just started but thanks. (I’ve reached a stage where I live to be slightly embarrassing to my pre-teens. It’s really fun.)
Well! It’s 8:30, time for brekkie. Up we go to catch the Laurier path via Slater at Bronson. Riding the Laurier path on a Sunday morning is glorious, because we have it all to ourselves. We chat, discuss safety measures, how to behave when it’s more crowded than this, etc. We stop at Starbucks on O’Connor for sustenance and caffeine, but I repeat myself, then off to Lisgar we go for theatre.
Theatre is awesome, she emerges from her two-hour session bubbling up about other dimensions and curved lines or some such, and can we please eat some French fries for lunch? Back on the path, down O’Connor to Laurier to Elgin, manoeuvre the construction area to McD, share some fries, then back on the path across the bridge to uOttawa LRT station.
Lovely person helping us out, explaining how to get our bikes through gates, up and down stairs (we eventually settle on the elevator), which car to use, etc. Getting on the train and off the train again with a bike is alright, even for an 11-year-old. Riding the moving train while holding on to your bike is a bit more of a challenge for a smaller person, but she manages. She thinks the LRT is cool. She’s been on all kinds of subways (Washington, New York City, Toronto, Montreal, London) and she thinks Ottawa’s system is nice.
Me, I am impressed by the speed; it’s a pretty smooth and fast way to get in and out of the city. I am also surprised to see the number of people on the train. It’s not packed, about half-way full. And we don’t have to wait more than two or three minutes to catch the next train.
As I pedal back to my place after dropping her off, the sun is gone and it’s fall weather. Cold, grey, slightly damp. I don’t care. I enjoy feeling alive in the elements, the freedom to ride and not drive, and the unspeakable joy of sharing a lovely Sunday with those active kids of mine. Here’s to more.