make-believe: family bike ride.

July 20, 2020
family bike ride | reading my tea leaves

This weekend I celebrated a very dear friend‘s birthday with a balmy bike ride through Brooklyn. Sweat poured down my back and pooled in the crooks of my elbows but there was a breeze and a wireless speaker and we three thirty-somethings suddenly felt like three thirteen year-olds, snorting and chortling and ringing bike bells on quiet summertime streets.

I haven’t biked regularly since Faye was born and I felt giddy with speed and forward momentum. When I lay down to sleep at night, I felt like the ground was still moving beneath me. So, here’s a summer day dream of getting back on a bike with kids in tow. And since it’s make-believe, there are no car horns blaring, not a drop of sweat to be found, not a pothole to bump my way into.

There is:

A family bike big enough for 3/5ths of us.

Bike helmets in coordinating colors.

A seersucker playsuit and a seersucker dress for backseat riders.

Plus masks to protect and stay protected.

Collapsible crates for organizing grocery hauls and picnic supplies.

And an upright tote, the better for holding speakers and sunscreen and other necessities.



In an effort to ground this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth:

+ Donate your bike helmets. Rosehip Medics and Portland Action Medics are hosting a Helmet Drive this week to help protect BLM protestors in Portland, Oregon from the Federal government. Portland locals can drop used helmets and goggles to 3376 SE 20th; Monday-Friday 9-5pm. Other folks can support the effort remotely via Venmo: Rosehip-medics.

+ Support community organizers. Don’t Shoot PDX is a Black-led community action plan in Portland, Oregon, advocating for accountability and the strategic building of relationships and networks used toward the shift in culture and systemic discrimination. Donate here.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply Lena July 20, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    We have the Tern GSD bike and love it! It‘s such a cool family bike and very easy to ride too.

  • Reply El July 20, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Erin, you’ve done a really good job incorporating our dystopia into the general practical but aesthetically-pleasing vibe of your blog. It’s really impressive, and I appreciate it.

    This comment brought to you by the surreal fact of needing a helmet drive to “help protect BLM protestors in Portland, Oregon from the Federal government.” Stay safe, everyone.

  • Reply Kellyn July 20, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    A Tern GSD would be lovely…I have been dreaming about one for a few months now.

    (I have a bakfiets style cargo bike so I do not have a need for one. just a pleasant day dream)

  • Reply Judith A Ross July 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I hope you can take that family bike ride before your children get much bigger and older. As a citizen of Portland, Oregon, I thank you for today’s links. We have a war going on on our streets with federal storm troopers kidnapping law-abiding, peaceful protesters, and putting them in unmarked vans. We now also have mothers and grandmothers and some pregnant women on the front lines. They are much braver than I am, risking their health:

  • Reply Auberie July 20, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    The timing of this article makes me laugh 🙂 I was excited the whole past week that my bike rear basket would arrive soon and it arrived this afternoon. I took some time to install it this evening and I’m so proud and happy. 🙂 I also found a thermo bag that fits perfectly with my front basket. Can’t wait to take my newly updated bike for a ride! Maybe tomorrow!

  • Reply Claire July 20, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Collapsible bike crates?! GENIUS!

    More seriously, I always appreciate you grounding the make-believe (which I love) with reality (which is essential). In my humble opinion, your blog always strikes the perfect balance of levity and creativity with critical facts and information.

    Were I not making do with unemployment following two terms of AmeriCorps, I’d chip in to the virtual tip jar. Consider this a virtual hug instead.

  • Reply Joanne Amarisa July 21, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Ooh! Love that upright tote!
    Your ‘make-believe’ series honestly reminds me why I love your blog so much – I don’t know why but this was just such a breath of fresh air. <3 I hope you're having a great week!

  • Reply tamara July 21, 2020 at 1:35 am

    Oh my gosh, my street medic collective! I may have started crying just now when I read that. Thank you so much for getting the word out and getting support. <3

  • Reply Amy July 21, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for encouraging your readers to support the fight against fascism! I am a mom who lives in Portland and the fight is very real.

  • Reply Diana July 22, 2020 at 12:43 am

    If this is a make believe bike ride I wanna make believe that there is no virus and I don’t need a mask! Let’s swap that out for a cute bandana!!! (Since there is a virus I’ll continue to wear a mask, all the time, everywhere, to do my part to help normalize mask wearing and keep people safe. At this point I would sleep in the damn thing if that would do anything useful)

  • Reply Anna B July 25, 2020 at 8:47 am

    A friend of mine just got this same bike, electric assist . It’s amazing! We are considering adding an electric assist to our own old cargo so that it can do grocery store runs in hilly Northwest Philadelphia.

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