As the only one in the family who is ‘into cycling’, it is my ultimate responsibility to be the cycling-ambassador, and to expose, educate, encourage and entice (all words spookily beginning with ‘e’) the kids to the fresh air delights of enjoying (another word beginning with ‘e’) the worlds most efficient form of human powered transport.
It is NOT easy (even if this last word begins with an ‘e’ as well)!
At one point in his early life, our eldest son was capable enough to ride on two wheels without the aid of stabilisers, but he was bit wobbly and unpredictable on roads with other traffic, including other cyclists. This means that I could justify buying a trailer-bike or tag-along bike, so that we can tandem ourselves around the countryside. Importantly, this means that he can pedal whilst I can be assured that he’s not going to wobble into something big, metal and moving. On the selfish side, it’ll be a bit more training for me and we can be ‘together on the road’.
I buy a single speed trailer bike as I factor that gear changing is the ‘next phase’ in his cycling education. This is MISTAKE Number 1. His single gear matches our collective speed for only about 30% of the ride. He’s also worked out within the first 3 miles that his single gear has a freewheel and that if he stops pedalling, I’ll put more effort (begins with an ‘e’, but read as: training) into it. Then comes MISTAKE Number 2. I realise what he’s doing and every time I hear his freewheel clicking away, meaning no pedalling, I point it out to him. This starts with gentle encouragement (‘e’ again…) to pedal, to then cries of ‘get bloody pedalling’!
MISTAKE Number 3 looms quickly after MISTAKE Number 2. Whilst his seat height is correct, it means that when he looks straight ahead, he can only see my ‘derrière’, which blocks his view fairly efficiently, and whilst I don’t talk out of my ‘derrière’ (contrary to my wife’s opinion sometimes), we do struggle to converse without the frustration of repeating stuff above the noise of car, tractors, motorcycles, and bigger groups of cyclists (observation: for some reason, you can always hear a ‘cycling club peloton’ from miles away) etc.
MISTAKE Number 4 is pretty obvious by now. Making all three previous mistakes, shatters all illusions of the great cycling game especially as I then made MISTAKE Number 5 by trying the same thing with our youngest son, with the same result. Looking back, and neither of the kids enjoy cycling as grown-ups, maybe I should just be grateful for the extra (this begins with an ‘e’ as well) training opportunity that it gave me. Maybe.