Recently my wife and I welcomed our third child, Hux, into the world. He's awesome.
It's strange, but with a third kid I really feel legit now, like I'm a real dad. That being said, at the same time that I'm feeling very "dadly" I have this inner struggle to be free, take adventures, and do things that dads with young kids can't easily do.
This is where my bike comes in. Riding a bike allows me to escape, and furthermore riding my bike in Harrisonburg, VA allows me to explore, get my blood pumping, and experience the world's beauty without having to take a cross-country trip.
Granted I can't ride my bike everyday or even every week, but I've come to accept that and to cherish the times when I can ride. In this newborn stage with Hux, I can only ride during weekend naps or late at night after the crew (Melissa included) has gone to bed. This means that I need to stay pretty close to home. Thankfully Harrisonburg and the surrounding area has a ton of riding options.
For example, since Hux, I've found myself having a greater appreciation for Harrisonburg's Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park. The trails are super close to my house, which means that within 10 minutes I can go from reading a book to the "big" kids at nap time, to the top of the Powerline Trail in Hillandale (and it would be even faster if I took my car). Yes, Hillandale won't do much for me in terms of overall fitness, but it momentarily fills my need for freedom and adventure. The trails are well maintained by SVBC and when they aren't wet they're downright fun.
Night rides are my opportunity to get out for a longer ride and it's here where I truly get the satisfaction of adventure that I crave. Being out in the cool night exploring the Shenandoah Valley's mountains is awesome. Massanutten and the GWNF are my go to areas for night rides, with the former being reserved for nights where I want to be in bed before midnight. As a dad, midnight or later seems like the mistake, but the inner refueling the adventure it brings heavily outweighs the following morning's drowsiness.
For now, my rides to Hillandale and escapes to the nearby mountains at night are keeping my desires for adventure at bay. However, I think the dad vs. adventure struggle will continue its presence in my life and my guess is that it always will. And I'm OK with that, because it will force me to find ways to balance being a dad and an explorer. Then one day I think I'll no longer see it as a struggle, but as a challenge to mesh the two.
It may seem far off now, especially since I'm swimming in diapers, but I see many Coleman family biking trips in the future!
So what about you, how do you manage being a parent and fulfilling a need for adventure and exploration?