Historic/Biographical

My Ancient Activities (Part 1)

I have spent a lot of time doing things many people often wouldn’t bother with doing, long distance bicycling, volleyball, white water rafting and kayaking, hiking and winter camping among them. These are a part of my past that bring me my fondest memories. The reason for this is partly from my personal experience and mostly from the people that were there creating the experience.

Bicycling

I have spent a lot of time doing things many people often wouldn’t bother with doing, long distance bicycling, volleyball, white water rafting and kayaking, hiking and winter camping among them. These are a part of my past that bring me my fondest memories. The reason for this is partly from my personal experience and mostly from the people that were there creating the experience.

I started distance bicycling at a very young age, as a way to escape being cooped up with my brothers and sisters in the small house we lived in. My mother tended to encourage the activity, I suspect because it meant the house would have a bit of peace for a while. The first rides were along routes my mother chose for us, as she felt they were “safe”. My brother and I decided after a while to find longer routes that were more fun to travel. We started hanging out in Princeton, NJ about 6 miles from our house and the route we chose had a fair amount of traffic and in some places no shoulder. These rides were fun, but we soon learned that aside from a few neat buildings and libraries, there wasn’t a lot of fast or cheap food on that ride.

We chose a different destination to accommodate our growing thirst for adventure, Washington’s Crossing. Although this ride was almost the same distance, most of the ride to it was up hill! It also had the advantage of having a fairly nice place to get ice cream at a reasonable cost. Which meant the ride home would be mostly downhill. A welcome aspect when you are getting tired. After a few weeks of riding there, managed to make our next ride destination much more manageable. 

The next ride destination had us crossing the river into Pennsylvania and heading north from Washington’s Crossing along route 32 to New Hope. New Hope was a nice quiet town that had some more interesting stores and a much better place that served exotic flavors of ice cream (I became partial to the Green Tea ice cream).

It was there on a September morning, before school would start in Lawrence Township, that we ran into the first snag in our cycling adventures. A policeman entered the ice cream shop and asked us why we were not in school. We told him that our school didn’t start until Thursday. He than asked where we were from. Lawrenceville was our answer and he then asked us if our mother knew where we were. Sure we lied. He then asked us for the phone number and wasted no time calling our mother. I could only hear his side of the conversation, but he repeated several times that your son’s are here in New Hope! He turned to us and said “Your mother wants you to go home now and you better ride fast.” That was the fastest 20 mile ride home we ever made (less than an hour). 

Our mother was both shocked and proud that we were able to ride so far, but mad that we hadn’t told her what we had been doing. She said it wasn’t very nice to have to be told by a police officer that her children were that far away from her supervision. She also told us that when the officer asked if she was going to drive to New Hope to pick up her kids she had gotten a bit short tempered and told him “If they could get there under their own power, they can come back the same way and they better do it fast!”

Now a days, that would be considered an offence that could get your children taken away. Yet I see it as one of the best ways to teach your children to be able to function on their own. Isn’t that what we need to do?