Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brothers on and off the Bike

This spring we have had a new addition to FatherSonTour or should I say Father and Sons Tour. Aidan, Liam’s younger brother (my middle son) has been accompanying us on rides! Aidan, who is now seven years old, is starting to really do well on the bike, in the pool, and on the track. It seems that overnight Aidan’s athletic ability has markedly improved. On 20 mile rides, at local 5k road races, and during weekend swim meets the Flanagan brothers have become quite a force.

It is great to see the boys encourage and challenge each other. Boys have unique personalities, individual strengths and weaknesses, and likes and dislikes. Raising three boys under 10 is no small feat. The shear amount of energy three little guys can generate is truly amazing. The challenge for a father, or mother, of active children is figuring out how to channel this energy, and, at the same time, making it fun and enjoyable. An active lifestyle of sports and exercise is a method that has worked very well for us. Sports serve a multi-purposed role in our lives. They bring us together with a common shared experience, they channel energy, and they teach very important life lessons about dedication, commitment and goal setting. Am I raising three jocks? Perhaps, but it is my hope that they will turn out to be well-rounded gentlemen who are equally at ease on the bike, in the classroom and in the social and business worlds.

Mountain Biking at Crystal Cove

Family sports activities are a common thread of our weekly routine. Culture and geography and life lessons are incorporated around the experience. Cycling is at the center. It is a sport that fosters natural curiosity about the world and about our inner selves. These life lessons are not necessarily pre-planned, they tend to come naturally out of participation in the sport. At the heart of cycling is a relationship between man and simple machine. The bike, a manpowered simple machine, immediately expands the possibilities and physical range of human effort. With training and practice one’s range now goes from 5 to 10 miles on foot to 20 to 100 miles under one’s own power on a bicycle. It is a simple environmentally friendly activity that has amazing cardiovascular benefits. To be a cyclist is to be empowered. This empowerment and the confidence that comes with it are important for children and adults.

The boys are now taking an active role in the planning as we get ready to head to France this summer. The boys are learning some French, studying the geography of Europe, and, of course, staying in great shape. Is this our answer to the Schleck brothers? It may be too early to tell, but right now there is a lot of passion and fun out on the road during our rides. Who knows what will be in store for the 2022 Tour de France!

Live Strong, Train Safe and Live Well!

Bill, Liam, and Aidan

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