Bonding and bicycling


By Jim Tiedje

As I was riding my bike this past weekend along with my soon-to-be 16-year old grandson, I was reminded why I renewed an old tradition of taking my grandkids on dates. It was something I started as the grandchildren were growing up, and just last Christmas my wife reminded me it would be good to try it again.

Jim Tiedje prepares for this year’s RAGBRAI

Much to my surprise, some of the now-older ones remembered our dates and they were interested in doing it again. It is a big commitment with 10 grandchildren, but it can be an opportunity to stay close as their lives get filled with obligations and the tendency to lose touch drifts in. I have a goal of two dates per grandchild per year and so far have lived up to that for the current year.

So, this particular grandson happens to be special. Rather than label him with having some negative issue, suffice it to say that our personalities are quite different and I have found it difficult at times to relate with him. I wasn’t sure he would have any interest in renewing our dates. How lucky I was to hear from his mother that he still very much likes riding his bike and that I should try another get-together with him. Riding bikes is something I have enjoyed for most of my life. I couldn’t have known that he would respond so affirmatively to my invite. He even asked after our first date if we could do it again, soon.


Some readers may have already seen my name in articles associated with team “Pedaling to the Peripheries” whose members will ride along with Bishop Thomas Zinkula on this year’s RAGBRAI (that’s the ride across Iowa in July in case you didn’t know about it).

In a very small way, my rides with my grandson are a bit in line with pedaling to the peripheries. I needed to step out a bit from my comfort zone and think about what I might have in common with my grandson rather than focusing on the negative things about him or assuming that we are just too different. Our “date” was fun and, at the same time, hopefully a bonding experience for both of us. What a lucky man I am!!!

Jerseys and t-shirts

Individuals in the Diocese of Davenport have asked about purchasing “Pedaling to the Peripheries” jerseys (see photo left) and T-shirts that feature Bishop Thomas Zinkula’s coat of arms.

The jerseys are available at cost for $104 and the T-shirts are available at cost for $25. Those in charge of ordering jerseys and T-shirts need at least 10 requests of each to be able to order. For more information, contact Jim Tiedje at

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on