Out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings

There are times on the bike when I wonder just what the hell I’m doing. Like when I’m battling through the sheeting rain into Bigtown in order to get to one of our summer rides, knowing that I’ll basically be standing there for 15 minutes at the appointed meeting place with the other ride leader waiting for nobody to turn up so that we can go and dry off in a cafe somewhere before heading back into the rain and home again. Because who on earth would come out for a fun, family-oriented ride on a day when the rain is coming in sideways?

Kids, that’s who. We’ve had a few regular families come and join us on these rides over the summer and two of them showed up this week: not because the parents are sadists who had dragged their kids out into the rain for a bike ride, but because the kids themselves had been adamant that was what they wanted to do. When you’re a child, it turns out, rain means nothing. If anything, it’s a bonus because rain means puddles, and riding through puddles are what bikes are for. I had forgotten this, but I remembered it this afternoon watching the eight-year-old swerving from side to side to make sure he got his wheels through every one.*

Fortunately for the adults the rain cleared up and held off and we had a good ride along the cycle path and through the woods, and stood around eating biscuits and admiring each others’ bikes, which is as much the point of these occasions as the ride itself. And then we parted ways and I hurried home before the threatening clouds could burst again. Because, while I admire the way kids can shrug off the rain and just get on with having fun, at the end of the day I am no longer eight and I still cannot learn to love riding in the wet.

One day, perhaps when I am eighty, I will re-learn…

* sadly, he learned the hard way about the dangers of lurking potholes at the bottom of puddles, but was back on the bike and ready to go after a few tears – and still swerving into every puddle like a good’un.

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11 Responses to Out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings

  1. That’s a great story. Why don’t we as adults just treat the rain like kids do? So what, we get wet, who cares eh?! Maybe it’s because kids know when they get all wet they can go home to some nice clean clothes whereas if you’re anything like we I have to remember to get something ironed first!

  2. disgruntled says:

    haha – yes, it’s true, the kids don’t have to worry about the practicalities of it all. There were certainly going to be some heavy loads of laundry done at the end of the day

  3. commuterjohn says:

    Yes, It’s no good asking an eight year old to lobby the council to get the pot holes in the road repaired!

  4. John Gibson says:

    I know I must have gone out in the rain when I was little, but I can’t remember doing so. I do remember my rides when the weather was nice.
    John

  5. d2 says:

    I can totally relate…to the kids being an avid puddle cruiser myself!

  6. welshcyclist says:

    I hope you do relearn that thrill….. you’re missing a good deal. And anyway, as it seems it rains 50% of the time in these parts, it’s very much a lesson we all need to learn. Good luck!

  7. disgruntled says:

    Heh. We thought we’d snuck out for a crafty bike ride between showers this afternoon and got drenched: OH is not an eight-year-old either :-)

  8. Autolycus says:

    >>It’s no good asking an eight year old to lobby the council to get the pot holes in the road repaired!<<

    But if it were (I suspect confectionery might help swing the balance), how much more effective it could be. I'm thinking Shirley Temple looking gooey-eyed at the Director of Technical Services.

    And if there's still no action, a follow-up visit from Dennis the Menace. And the Bash Street Gang for good measure.

  9. disgruntled says:

    I have long thought that a decent bike blog written by an articulate nine-year-old would be a powerful campaigning tool…

  10. charles barraball says:

    Another lovely post – thanks! As I zoom towards 80, I am stunned by the sudden arrivals of holidays. Perhaps I should re-try and get some rides organised for the next hols…

  11. Andy in Germany says:

    I tell my boys I don’t minf them puddle cruising- as long as they clean their own bikes afterwards…

    Sometimes it works.

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