Most of our days follow the same routines. Weekends, that means Charlie wakes up and we load up the bikes and drive over, per his request, 'bridge.'
Saturday began in the usual way but then we discovered that I'd put not Charlie's black bike but another one on the rack. Over the years of Charlie and Jim riding, we have acquired a couple of bikes, insurance against the inevitable bike breakage. Charlie, being Charlie, devoutly insists on riding one bike in particular, for all that there is a rip in the seat and it's gotten its share of rust -- and this time, I had wheeled out the wrong one from the garage and we were a bridge and quite a few miles of roadway from home.
Charlie assented to holding the handlebars of the bike-not-his-own and walking it on the bike path. After ten minutes, Jim called me to pick them up beside a Red Roof Inn. As we turned the car around in the parking lot, Jim spotted ... a new bike path.
We scouted it out and then headed to my parents' house on our side of the bay. Charlie paced around, lay down briefly on the double bed in the extra room we used to sleep in when we visited during Christmas, then tried a bit of a burrito from a new source, an Oakland food truck.
On the way home, Charlie kept calling 'bridge' and, not exactly intentionally and partially because there was heavy traffic on the highway to Berkeley, we drove back over the bridge, and back to the same spot (just south of the San Francisco airport) whence Jim and Charlie have been starting their rides. We drove among some baseball fields and sighted the very bike path we'd noted the first time around and Charlie walked off with the unfamiliar bike and rode a bit, and then he and Jim went around a bend.
15 minutes later, Jim called me to say Charlie was not happy. I drove the silver car to meet them and we praised Charlie (though not over-effusively) for trying the bike.
Sitting in slow-moving traffic on highway 101 heading into downtown San Francisco, Charlie started calling 'Berkeley.' The traffic let up and not 40 minutes later, he was on his (the right) bike riding the daily route by the bay or as Jim prefers to say, the ocean.
We have long been trying to get Charlie to ride a different bike, and we're always trying to get him to eat new things -- the same sort of burrito from a different purveyor very much counts as new and some minutes on a different bike (and on a newfound path) too: There are strategies involving social stories with photos to introduce and prepare a child for the new. The unanticipated has its advantages.