Exhausting

So this morning was one of the tougher bike rides of my life: approximately four miles over two hours to the reservoir and back. And if you don’t think that sounds very tough, add in ‘with ten children under twelve, one of which was riding a full-suspension Hello Kitty mountain bike stuck in first gear’. We’ve done this before and it was more or less the same deal, except that the whole school detoured to the village coffee morning first, to fill up on cake (after all, why else do we cycle?) and to practise their small talk.*

Thus fuelled, the noise levels on the ride out were something phenomenal, abating only as the group tackled the climb that I have dubbed ‘Heartbreak Hill’. I’m impressed with the school discipline, though. At one point, the bickering over who was supposed to go behind who and who wasn’t letting who into the line of bikes reached the sort of volume where birds were in danger of falling out of the sky, so I stopped the ride and turned around and said ‘Hush.’ And they did (if you think that’s impressive, the head teacher can get them to go utterly silent simply by saying ‘one … two … three’ – by three you could hear a pin drop).

Fortunately lunch and about an hour of running around like lunatics (at what point in our lives does running stop being something we do for fun and start being something we do to punish ourselves for getting old?) took the edge off them somewhat and the ride back to school was marked less by bickering and more by bell ringing and the singing of a song of our own invention (‘single file, single file, single all the way, oh what fun it is to ride on a wet and rainy day’ to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’, because I should mention that it was drizzling pretty much the whole morning, a fact which to the children mattered not a jot). One of the P1s – so small that his hi-vis vest reached his knees – also joined us on the ride back, and even beat Miss Hello Kitty back to the school gates.

While it would be nice to have the sort of roads and the sort of culture where all of them cycled to school as a matter of course, at least now, thanks to the efforts of the iBike officer who organised this event, I do see three of the boys cycling to school regularly (one of them on a bike which turned out not to have any working brakes – it’s lucky we don’t have any actual traffic on his road) and events like this help to keep the flame alive. I saw one of the older girls cycling home on her own this afternoon and that was a cheering sight. Worth all the effort if it means she keeps it up.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go and have a little lie down. How do teachers ever survive?

*I love the fact that the head teacher has deemed it part of the curriculum that the children should learn how to make polite conversation with their elders.

Advertisements

10 Responses to Exhausting

  1. zungg says:

    “The bickering over who was supposed to go behind who and who wasn’t letting who into the line of bikes reached the sort of volume where birds were in danger of falling out of the sky” – sounds like many a group-ride I’ve been on! You’re right though, it all goes quiet when you hit the climb!

  2. Oh, you do write so well! Thank you.

    Charles

  3. “*I love the fact that the head teacher has deemed it part of the curriculum that the children should learn how to make polite conversation with their elders. now that’s brilliant. i was floored by our HT introducing the new depute HT and telling us what she was working on ‘presentation’ which seemed to come down to neat handwriting. I kept expecting her to go on, but no. apparently that is enough for a highly trained, highly paid depute HT. not content, but presentation.

  4. disgruntled says:

    @zunng – yes, when it got too loud, I just picked the pace up a little…
    @Charles – thank you.
    @Sara – you can tell the kids from that school, even as teenagers they are just very well integrated into village life, and really nice kids too.

  5. Andy in Germany says:

    I only take take local children on bike rides if their parents are with them. My German is fluent but there’s always a chance I have to hesitate for translation in a dangerous situation.

    I’ve also found it hard to combine our rather ralxed style of riding -because our boys are experienced enough to be sensible around traffic- and the “There’s a car coming, paniiiiic!” approach which seems to be the norm for local parents.

  6. Charles says:

    Well done you. Helping children to explore and escape is a vital part of their future.

  7. disgruntled says:

    @Andy – we try and keep well away from traffic on our family rides. Especially as little kids do seem to have a propensity to fall off.
    @John – that is extremely disturbing
    @Charles – fortunately none of them escaped on my watch! That might have been an adventure too far

  8. […] who didn’t; break the law, that is. Nothing is more exhausting, and few things more enjoyable, than biking with kids. Scot cycling legend Graeme Obree retires after failing to set the land speed record he was after. […]

  9. […] the kids in some way so we saw some extremely patient driving, and the rest of the day passed off more or less like the last one, although we have a new iBike officer who has banned bell ringing except in an emergency; I expect […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: