How I found out the hard way that I needed a bike if I wanted to go for a bike ride.
The children are old enough to have what I call proper bikes now. Gone are the days of chucking a balance bike and Thomas The Tank Engine themed cycle in the car boot. We no longer needed to trot behind them (sweating profusely in parkas) as they rode around our local forest. Ted, my husband gave himself a bike for his last birthday so I recently bought a secondhand mountain bike from our local Bike Shop. I think I knew deep down, perhaps intuitively, that if I wanted to go bike riding with the kids too then I would need a bike.
So, now that we are a bona fide cycling family of four we require the appropriate apparatus i.e. a bike car rack thingy to get all the bikes to the local forest. So Ted set about researching this necessary accessory with such ponderous questions as would we need a rack for the roof? Or the tow bar? Or some kind of hifalutin trailer thingy? Well – as I would rather translate my tax return into Latin and then fill it in-in ancient Greek than do this kind of research – I left Ted to it. Undaunted, he went about this investigative research with relish and in the end, after much deliberation and comparing on numerous websites….prepare to be fascinated right out of your seat, Ted settled on a 4 bike tow bar cycle carrier.
Not our grimy car or our muddy bikes, but you get the idea. *I do not advocate painting your registration plates yellow as you may be prosecuted or fined.
My complex relationship with cycling and cycling related issues.
I’d like to be someone who loves to be dressed head to toe in shiny second skin lycra with a reinforced padded gusset.
I’d like to be someone who sports elbow and knee padding up to my armpits and is perfectly happy about cold liquid mud/puddle spray liberally plastered up my back.
I’d like to be someone who has rosy ruddy cheeks while cycling at top speed around the forest trails in pursuit of equally lycra attired, ruddy-cheeked kids also sprayed head to toe in layers of wet sludge.
I’d like to be someone who is happy to walk about with post bike ride sweaty/slapped down #helmethair in a public place.
But when I bought my bike from the Bike Shop I was the someone who asked the **nice man to fit my mountain bike with mud guards………….yes he did refuse, wide eyed and horrified as if I’d just asked him to tamper with the brakes on Bradley Wiggins’ best Tour De France bike. But I cajoled and persuaded him into it and I think he may have felt slightly violated as he performed the mudguard fitting operation! However, he held his own when he point blank refused (with flat upward facing palms and everything) to fit me a shopping basket. I tried him with panniers, again this was met with undisguised disaproval! Of course, this was most disconcerting as I imagined myself smugly shopping local on two wheels. Where was I going to stick my whimsy baguette and bunch of Chrysanths?….I think the **nice man in the bike shop had a few suggestions which he was kind enough to mutter at an inaudible level!
Local bike rides and how to get the best out of them.
Our house to a lovely pub on the estuary – just long enough to get a severely numb bum but a good bar snack at the destination.
Our house to the nearest beach – just long enough to get a thorough inner thigh chafing but on the flat via a newly built ‘psychopath’ with various cafe emporiums, therefore a good panini at the destination.
Our house to the local forest – can’t be done on bikes due to a massive hill but that won’t stop us! So, a 5 mile jolly in the car (newly acquired rack required) but worth it because there is a good latte waiting in the nice cafe at the destination.
Our house to a stunning local lookout point and place of significant natural beauty – no point, there’s no cafe/pub at the destination.
My helpful tips for comfortable bike riding and other unrequested advice.
A bum deal
Get a bum padding cover thingy for your bike saddle from ***Poundland, it’ll be the best £1 you’ll ever spend. Or why not go the whole hog and get proper gel filled bum padding from a well-known cycle retailer or indeed buy a comfortable saddle in the first place.
Cycling with children
Use this suggestion – don’t take the kids bike riding (this comes with a no whinging and whining satisfaction guarantee or your money back. Order now for delivery before Christmas.)
An alternative to bike riding
Walk instead (full disclosure: this may be slower and therefore take longer).
Do you love cycling? Really? Do you love a muddy river up your back? How do you feel about having #helmethair in a public place? Let me know your cycling anecdotes in comments!
As you were!
* a public service announcement.
** actually a really nice man.
***Poundland gets a mention here but this post was not sponsored by their bum padding saddle cover range. All opinions are my own.