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A Simple Six: Date Night by Bike

Friday, July 29, 2011

Date Night by Bike

Babysitting for free has some great rewards. The best one happened Thursday night when the family we babysat for several times this month came over to watch our children. It was date night! I put a lot of thought into all the things I wanted to do. I first considered Geocaching. The idea was quickly thrown out when I realized we needed to have either a GPS or a mobile phone with GPS ability. We have neither. Then I thought we ought to do a long bike tour and picnic dinner. I looked over the PATH map and found it very under detailed and a bit incomplete at this time. I looked to ride all the way to Kenova for some ice cream at Austin's or Griffith & Feil. Both of these ideas were scrapped when the temperatures soared to 100 degrees.

The Date
Our sitters arrived about 6:30. We spent a few minutes catching up with our friends and giving them the 10-4 on getting everyone to bed pleasantly. Brent and I unhitched the trailer and the new iBert seat, settled our helmets and road off toward the sun. We set our sights to Huntington Prime on 4th Avenue. We took the most direct roads to get there, staying on 10th most of the way. Up to this point in my new biking life I had not ridden with out the children. Brent and I certainly had never had a biking date.

The temperatures remained high and the air was heavy. Being free to glide around on our bikes, wind sliding over our skin and nothing but each other to be distracted by made the weather seem unimportant. On our typical date nights, it takes hours to get over the strange new feeling of not having children under our feet. Not yesterday. It was almost immediately clear that we were together on an adventure, relying on each other and savoring these new experiences.

We don't carry watches or have phones and therefore we had only a general sense of time. I guessed it took about fifteen minutes to get downtown from our house. It would have taken 15 minutes to drive there and park somewhere further than right in front of the restaurant, like we did with our bikes. Locked up on a lamppost, Brent put our names on the list and we strolled around the block to cool off and see what we could see.

On the same block as Huntington Prime was the Fredrick building. From 5:30-7:00pm on Thursdays, they host a Chat 'n Chew forum for individuals in the community looking to further develop ideas in town. These meetings have led to community garden initiatives, recycling pilot programs, graffiti removal organizations, creek clean ups, and plenty of other citizen based renewal in Huntington. We thought we would see if anyone was still lurking about, but they had left the place pretty deserted. Maybe we will catch them another week.

Inside the Frederick.

On the other side of the block is Pullman Square. There was a small crowd gathered at the courtyard listening to live country music. Brent and I enjoyed the liveliness of the people more than the sounds of the guitar. We are always happy to see downtown crawling with people enjoying what the town has to offer.

Our wait time was to be only 30 minutes so we walked around the other end of the block back to the restaurant. I was standing next to our bikes while Brent was checking on our table. One of the men from the city who was watering the hanging baskets came over to make sure we didn't want to move our bikes. He was certain they would get wet. I didn't mind a bit. I figured with this heat they wouldn't be wet for long.

Me, waiting on a table.

Talking with the crewman from the city.

We have had a few meals at Huntington Prime and have never been disappointed. They are doing their best to find local sources for their meals and the menu even highlights where their cuts of meat are from and where the veggies are grown. My current trend of reading has been entirely in food and nutrition, specifically locavore and sustainability. It was a real treat to have biked to a locally owned restaurant that was also trying to serve local commodities.

The helmet was hiding under the table until it was time to go.

Brent had a margarita pizza and crab cakes. I enjoyed a stuffed eggplant with a side of broccoli. German chocolate cake and tres leche cake for desserts. We discussed food culture and teaching philosophies, money and children. We chatted about the events coming this weekend and made plans for everyone going back to school. We didn't rush through anything. I sat there and watched darkness begin to descend on the town over Brent's shoulder, so we paid our bill and walked out into the night.

After Dinner
We were enjoying our company so much we didn't care to go home just yet. We rode back past Pullman Square down to Harris River Front Park. We were able to catch the last few shades of pink setting on the Ohio River and then turned south toward our neighborhood.

The ride home is graded slightly uphill. There also seemed to be several more cars than the few hours earlier when we arrived. I didn't realize downtown picked up after dark. We were able to keep up with the trucks in our neighboring lane as we all rushed from red light to red light toward Ritter Park. Most of the vehicles left our side as we neared the residential area.

We choose to ride through the park on our way back. Several people were out walking dogs and jogging on the loop. We were laughing at our need to ride side by side because Brent's bike was the only one with lights. We felt a bit fool hardy.

 As far as the history of our date nights go, this one will never be forgotten. Anyone else take their date out on a bike?

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