The most exciting moment as a parent has to be sharing your passions with your children. Getting a child onto your bike for even just a short slow ride is a standout moment in the relentlessness of wiping bottoms and removing crayon from your freshly painted walls.
You will reach this monumental milestone somewhere around 9 months to a year old, on a day that it is actually warm and sunny. There is a lot of pressure on the first time going well, one bad experience may take months to forget. So cold and wet should be avoided until cycling is established.
You have three main child seat options for getting a child on a bike, and they all have advantages and disadvantages: The trailer, the seat behind you and the seat between your legs, we’ll look at these in detail in this post, but first here are the basics.
My first foreign cycling trip was also my first completely solo adventure. Cycling onto the Dover to Calais ferry early one morning and heading across France, over the Swiss alps and onwards to Venice in Italy. It was both incredibly exciting and scary as hell. Not least because I barely spoke any French or Italian. I could order a croissant or beer, say please/thank you and apologise for being English, that seemed like the absolute basics I would need – until inevitably I got a bit stuck.
If COVID lockdowns have taught me anything, it’s that you can have an adventure anywhere, even familiar places. Many people chose to run every street in their town, or camped in their garden/different rooms in their house to make the situation seem more adventurous and exciting. Many of us have been pleasantly surprised with what we have discovered. So as my daughter begins to ride her balance bike and we continue to cycle together as a family, we feel that a challenge might be the catalyst to spark a sense of adventure and exploration together.
So as I write this we’re in lockdown in England. Government advice has been to exercise outside once a day, which I have saved for taking my daughter out for a walk (or roll around on the bikes) to get her to sleep as she’s only a year old. So my main cycling has been on a turbo trainer, getting sweaty in the garage in front of Youtube. So nothing interesting to write about actual cycling wise. Being a designer I have used my time to do something creative however, and as this is my blog and I make the rules I thought it appropriate to do a bit of shameless self-promotion on it.
I first became aware of this book when I was reading Bert Wagendorp’s Ventoux. As the main character describes how his cycling obsession began “The urge to sit on a racing bike again came back later. That was after I had read The Rider by Tim Krabbé. I was 15, read it at one sitting, and knew instantly what I had to do.” With both books being originally written in Dutch I suppose it was inevitable that the later would mention the original Dutch cycling classic. Continue reading →
Mention Graeme Obree and the first two things that spring to mind are the hour record and washing machine parts. It is his unique approach to doing things that have earned him his reputation as an eccentric genius. A hero to many, mad entertainer to others, and downright annoying to one Chris Boardman. With world records, world championships and two successful hour record attempts under his belt his unorthodox approach has certainly worked. 20 years after his last world record Graeme is attempting another in the only way he knows how. Continue reading →
You may recognise the name of the author from his popular website ipayroadtax.com. I stumbled upon this particular website when looking for the facts about road tax after being shouted at from a white van (like most cyclist will have been at some point) about cyclists not paying road tax. As I’m sure you’re aware there is no such thing as “Road Tax”, if however this is news to you, may I suggest you visit the aforementioned website before reading the rest of this book review.
Road tax is just one of the many modern myths or misunderstandings that surrounds road use today, and this book sets out to set things straight, starting with the title! Continue reading →
Cycling and the weather; the endless worry of a cyclist. Finding those precious hours of optimum (or just about acceptable) conditions to get out and feel the sensation of speed. The effortless tail wind, flattering your ability, on that sun soaked morning before returning home to errands and reality. Weather can make your day, or break your sprit. If you’ve ever had to change gear with the other hand because your fingers have stopped working, numbed through cold and rain, then you’ll know how important it is to be prepared for what the weather has in store. Continue reading →
Staying motivated over the winter months has to be the hardest thing as a UK cyclist. When it’s cold, windy and normally raining it’s so easy to just put off your riding time and sink into a nice warm and comfortable lack of training rut. Often the promise of a session on the turbo trainer becomes a reason not to join friends on that cold morning ride, and if you don’t enjoy the turbo trainer sessions your riding time slowly reduces to almost nothing. Continue reading →
Sometimes it’s just not possible to be riding a bike. Sometimes you just have to sit down and eat dinner, watch TV with your partner and do all manner of household chores. By decorating your home with bicycle related images or paraphernalia you can keep you mind focused on your obsession. Next time you hear “I think we should redecorate”, don’t think about the time out from your training schedule, think about how many bicycle related items you can squeeze into the room. Continue reading →