An introduction to cycling

Almost a month ago, at 11 months old (well, a day off of 11 months), Sebastian went on his first bike ride.

We bought a second-hand Croozer Kid2 as recommended by a fellow cycling parent. Sebastian sat in one seat, and “Cow Cow”, his large Jellycat Cow, sat in the other, both tucked up under a quilt.

Ollie attached the Croozer to his Giant TCR, and off we went on a short trial ride, to coincide with nap time.

Sebastian was so amazed and excited that he fought sleep for half an hour or so, but finally gave in and had a nap for the last few miles of the 10 mile ride.

10 miles, which took us an hour! It was hilly, and a lack of maintenance and cleaning had taken toll on our bikes and Ollie was subjected to a problem that I had experienced earlier in the week; he was unable to change down off of the big ring. Making what was already a challenge, towing a trailer with a small person and cow, even more difficult. He did very well, and I struggled to keep up with them!

Sadly a nasty bug kept us from repeating the experience the following weekend, and then other commitments kept us away from our bikes last weekend. But this weekend we were free and (semi) healthy, so we decided to have another trial ride, this time with me towing.

After some domestic delays (yawn!), we departed for our ride somewhat late, so I made a last minute suggestion that we ride to a local farm cafe for lunch. We stuck a packed lunch in the ‘boot’ (trunk) of the trailer for the little one and headed off on what was supposed to be a 10 mile ride.

The cafe, 5 miles in, was perfectly placed as I was desperate to use the facilities (waaay too cold for the SheWee), but closed on a Sunday. So, sure that we would find a pub if we continued, we carried on, going away from home.

We came across one pub that was closed, then went on and on, until we got to a town. We cycled right through the town, and were about to give up when we saw a tourist sign to a local pub, which we then followed. Frustrating that was the only sign and we didn’t come across a pub. We pulled in, and I had a cake to console myself, whilst hoping that I would soon find some facilities!!!

Ollie checked Google Maps, and some 8 minute ride away was a farm cafe and it was open. So, off we went for a lovely lunch, and a play on their play park. When we got there, we’d done over 13 miles!

Ollie offered to tow home, and it’s lucky he did – a strong headwind meant that it was very difficult cycling to get back and I was exhausted. At one point, going up a hill my Garmin AutoPaused because I was going so slow! If I’d had to tow, we’d either still be going now, or we wouldn’t have made it!

Two naps, two play parks and a large lunch meant that Sebastian enjoyed his second outing despite it being more than double the length it was meant to be (24 miles altogether), and a 4 hour + trip.

Tandem-ing is not a winter sport!

Today I learnt that:

1. Tandeming is not a winter sport. I can’t put my finger on why, but Ollie agrees. The tandem has gone into hibernation.

2. £3 saddles are priced as such for a reason. (A few months ago we popped into the expensive bike shop in town for a look, and came across their bargain box where we found three £60 saddles for £3 each, which of course we had to buy. Two for the tandem, and one for Ollie’s carbon bike).

3. Log fires in yurts are amazing.

4. Returning to the cold and having to cycle another 40 miles is not amazing.

5. I need lenses in my cycling glasses that will change themselves according to the light. It was bright this morning, I needed the tint, but by this evening I had to take them off and get rain in my eyes because I could no longer see anything.

We planned and rode a three part ride today; 35 miles solo followed by 20 tandem miles and finished off with another 20 solo miles. The weather was cold but dry and bright this morning, quite breezy but nothing like the gales of the past few days. We cycled to Ollie’s house, the long way, and dropped off our solo bikes so that we could go to lunch in the tandem. A couple of extra pairs of socks were also added! Matching, should have been expensive saddles were being trialled.

Needless to say mine will be going on to E-Bay.

After a great lunch at Jolly Nice, which is not far from Minchinhampton, we went back to Ollie’s house to reunite ourselves with our road bikes (we were happy to see them!)

Despite Ollie’s lodger insisting that we wouldn’t get rained on, we did, but it wasn’t heavy and we have faced a lot worse weather over the past month! The wind was the worst part of the ride home, mainly coming from the side, doing its best to dislodge us from our saddles. And then combined with the dark, it was all rather spooky. All in all a good day out in the saddle though and some good winter miles to add to the Strava counter.

Laura