Last weekend, three of my kids and I rode down the Gwynns Falls Trail to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to watch the Fleet Week air show.
I was dying to see the Blue Angels and for once, we had a free afternoon. I figured the traffic would be a mess and parking nonexistent, so biking seemed like the best option. Plus, I’ve always been curious about the trail that passes just a few miles from my house and leads downtown. My husband was already in the city for the Baltimore Running Festival, so I asked him to take the bike rack. This way, we wouldn’t have to ride home.
It was a beautiful day and three of the four kids were game for the adventure — the oldest had other plans. I made it clear before we left that I wanted to stay together. Though I figured the trail would be safe in the middle of the day, it does pass close to some rough areas.
Riding down the trail, however, we felt miles from the city. The path follows a stream and only pops out occasionally to cross a busy road. It passes through woods, by meadows and past ball fields. The trail is clearly marked and was mostly deserted the day we rode. Parts of it are paved and parts are not, and several times we had to duck under fallen trees. I was glad we were riding mountain bikes with fat tires.
When we got close to downtown, markers were painted on the sidewalks and side roads. We easily found our way to the M&T Bank stadium, where the running festival ended, and from there to Federal Hill, where we watched the Blue Angles. In total it was about 12 miles and took an hour and a half. It was easy riding — mostly flat or down hill the whole way.
The hardest part was keeping the kids together. As we made our way down the trail, I was constantly yelling ahead to my 16-year-old twins to slow down while looking back at my youngest and telling him to hurry up. After the trip, I realized that’s exactly how I feel about life these days.
I am constantly looking at my older three, wondering why they are growing up so fast and wishing they would slow down. Meanwhile, my poor little guy — just 12 this week — is constantly on the fast track, having to keep up with his siblings. Life with kids is a fast journey and taking them on meandering adventure every now and then is so important. It’s the only way to put on the brakes and enjoy the moment.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 11.