We mamas slung our dirty bikes into the back of Barbie’s truck and as soon as we pulled out of my driveway we sighed a breath of relief.

It didn’t even matter how long it took to find what we needed in the grocery store. Nobody was waiting for us to hurry back, we weren’t forgetting something again, and nobody was fussing in a cart. The only reason we didn’t get beer with our Luna bars is because we were already looking forward to the 32-ounce post-ride Mexican beer with tortilla chips.

Yes, the bikes were already dirty on the way to the ride. Mamas don’t have time to clean their bikes when they get home. Mamas have to rush in to cook dinner, start the bath, break up fights, and crack the whip, remembering whether tomorrow is recycling or a field trip. Mamas are lucky to squeeze a ride in at all and will be rushed the rest of the day for taking that risk. The bike will not be washed. In fact, it may sit on the roof rack until well after the kids have gone to bed.

Before I had children I distinctly recall one woman saying, “Everything is harder when you have kids.” I nodded my head and smiled while sizing her up, writing it off as her being a wimp.

What she meant, was that when you have exactly two hours to go for a ride, and you sprain your ankle in the parking lot, you ride anyway. You ride anyway, because it may not be until eight days from now that you have another opportunity to get away – to get some cardio, to burn off everything you ate in the last three days.

When you start riding and realize your gloves are so old they CAUSE blisters, you ride anyway, because blisters are better than not getting to ride, yet again.

When you attach the trailer to your bike because it’s the only way a ride will happen twice in one week, and your toddler screams up the hills, right when you’re working your hardest and really just want to go back down the hill, you stand up in the pedals and turn the iPod up as loud as it will go so that you can breathe.

So our bikes were dirty. God only knows what kind of maintenance they would require, but I was prepared with both tools and duct tape.