Now when I went out and bought my over priced bike, I had a little dream in my head, I dreamt I would be out there on a long summer day riding through the countryside with my family. A picnic in my rucksack, warm sunshine giving my face a healthy glow and the smell of wheat growing in the fields.
So what are my chances of achieving this nirvana? On the face of it I have to conclude that they are fairly low when I look at it in a cold logical way. So here are the problems:
1) Wife, whilst she may enjoy a bike ride, she has lately become a little less enamoured with this cycling idea. Basically her lower back hurts and it stubbornly refuses to get better. She has rightly or wrongly blamed cycling 100% for this pain she is now feeling. Fair enough I am sure it has a part to play but if she would make the effort to sit properly on the bike I am sure it would be reduced, coupled with this she is also going down the gym more regularly, I am sure this cannot be helping in her recovery. So I am going to have to get her to in love with cycling, my only hope is warm weather and rides in the countryside (personally I prefer riding through the centre of London where there is far more to see).
2) Youngest son – he is 11 years old and although fairly healthy and active he is still too small to go long distances – he has to peddle twice as much as me to go the same distance. On the bright side at least he likes going for a bike ride with me but currently I am having to spend that time teaching him the rules of the road and how to be safe. He may be my only hope in the future but I have a feeling that is at least three years in the future.
3) Eldest son – he is 13 years old. On the positive side he is very strong and fit, downside is he is only strong and fit because he does so much sport (5 to 6 times a week) and to be honest between this and homework / school, he really doesn’t have the time. Maybe during the summer holidays he will? Then again that is another issue that affects all of them. During the summer holidays they tend to go away for at least 5 weeks in total to different countries (dad has to stay back home and work as well as look after the dog who most definitely does not “do kennels”). I am trying to convince the eldest that cycling would be a helpful addition to his cross training and improve his overall performance on the rugby pitch, though in reality the link is tenuous compared to using his time in a gym or running.
4) By the time we have got to the countryside proper we would have already done far too many miles to make the ride anything bordering on idyllic. I can at least get around this one by buying a couple of cycle racks for the car – but I know my family by the time I have got the car loaded with bikes, food, and kids it will be at least 2pm.
So the above represents a real quandary and I am not even sure there is a suitable work around in the near term. This is depressing me, after all one of the reason in getting the bike was so we could do more family things together, town centres are out, my wife is not a fan of cycling in traffic, my youngest is not ready to deal with London Drivers and my eldest is too foolhardy and the most likely of all to get hit by a car. There is a time factor on this too, the boys are getting older and it will become harder and harder to get them motivated for family fun days out.
So I am going to have to stamp my feet a little this summer and make them come out with me, but given the above the first trip needs to be near perfect to convince them to do a second time, I am going to need to do military planning, right weather, right food and drink, prepared and planned perfect route (could mean an initial reconnoitre). Also I am going to have to be on my best behaviour – no daddy getting grumpy then!
Chances of success – 40%