Take up thy Bike and Pedal

November 23, 2018

So, a number of you have asked how Stephen has been getting on with his bike riding endeavours. I have to confess that we’ve failed to get him pedalling on two wheels, although he’s now perfectly happy riding a trike – in the end, after giving it our absolute best shot, we decided it wasn’t fair on Stephen or on us to keep persisting. Bikes are (mostly) wonderful self-balancing machines, but only above a certain speed, and he has so far never quite had the confidence to get up to that speed long enough to achieve escape velocity.

We may give it another go later, encouraged by another of the Buddies – let’s call him Peter – who’s been pretty determined to stick to the four-wheel go kart for the last few months. We’ve been trying to encourage him to at least give a trike a go, and he’s consistently promised that next week he will definitely ride the trike, and every week there’s always a reason why he needs to stick to the go kart this time around (I suspect that the fact it’s got a steering wheel and can be made to do something resembling a handbrake turn has got a lot to do with it). So yesterday, out we went on a variety of bikes, plus Peter on the go kart, made our painful way across the two-stage-caged-in-sorry-were-you-in-a-hurry toucan crossing to the park, had some fun practising high fives and slaloms around the band stand and then started heading back along the river. It was at that point that one of the other guys decided he wanted a go on the go kart to see what it was like. Peter happily obliged – and then picked up the left over bike, got on it, and happily pedalled off, to everyone’s amazement except, perhaps, his own.

Buddies on the Whitesands

Perhaps one day Stephen will do the same…

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Playing Fair

September 28, 2018

So, this week the Rood Fair has come to Bigtown – as it has done since 1592, apparently, although I suspect back then there were fewer waltzers and candyfloss stalls and more cattle sales and witch burnings. And, as has happened every year since almost 1592, I have found my path along the river blocked by assorted lorries, generators, rides and fair equipment, despite it being part of the National Cycling Network and nothing in the way of complaining to the council, asking the fair or sending sarcastic tweets made a blind bit of difference. However this year, for the first time in 426 years, I have discovered the secret weapon in getting a route cleared through all the paraphernalia: these guys

Buddies on the Whitesands

One of the many great things about the Buddies, is that, stick them on a trike or their newly acquired side-by-side pedal go kart (I hesitate to call it a tandem; tank would be nearer the mark) and they have magical leave to go anywhere. We wanted to get to the park, and so generators got moved, rides got repositioned, and barriers shoved out even if that meant narrowing the road so we could pass. Indeed, even when the fair is not on, not only are they entirely welcome on the pavement – but the few times we’ve ventured onto the road, white vans have driven at walking pace behind us with perfect patience, and we’ve been waved through junctions with a smile. It’s like riding in another country, and if only the pedal-powered go kart could cope with even the slightest incline, I’d never cycle anywhere without them. It’s bloody magic.