It’s about the enjoyment.
We all enjoy riding our bikes. That’s a given. But as with everything there are levels within levels.
Yesterday was an excellent example of that. In an effort to give wifey some peace and quiet to help with her recovery from Friday’s scare, I took The Spawn of Satan out to do a bit of “man shopping”. Wifey is on the mend and thanks for all the good wishes, it was appreciated.
Man shopping is about visiting what we boys call “proper shops”, there wasn’t a clothes or soft furnishing shop in sight!
The “proper shop” in question was Decathlon in Wednesbury. Dan has needed a new bike for a while now, his starter bike a long time bereft of stabilisers, was now way too small. As you can see below.
Decathlon is a massive Alladins cave of veritable sporting goodness all at reasonable prices. They have a large cycling section all under their bTwin label. I have some of their cycling clothing and one or two other bits’n’pieces and it all seems pretty good kit.
They have a large range of bikes, from your basic commuter/clunker to high end carbon framed speed machines dripping with top of the range groupset jewellery, to kiddies bikes and the dog’s danglies full suspension Mountain bikes. If you can’t find a bike to suit you or your wallet then the bike doesn’t exist or you’re really a fussy bugger!
Having arrived just on opening we wandered over to the bikes and I immediatley spied a little number called the “Hyper Hero”, Dan jumped on and was off down the aisle! That fits then! The problem you have with a lot of kid’s bikes is that they’re heavy, badly fitting and for some strange reason the brakes are adult sized levers! This machine was fairly light, fitted Dan well and had levers he could reach. This looked like a done deal. I grabbed an assistent and said I wanted this bike for my lad. This next bit impressed me. He wanted to see Dan on the bike and pedalling before he’d sell me the bike! So Dan obliged and whizzed off to the end of the aisle and back. Job done, bike check done, cash dished out and off home we went.
I grabbed my MTB commuter, got my helmet and mitts on, Dan put his helmet and mitts on and off we went over the Waseley’s for his first ever MTB ride.
I said to Dan that he was leading, (he knows the hills well through the dog walking we do) we rest when he wants to and we go at his pace. he loved the idea of being in charge!
Our first rest stop at the start of the path to the top below.
The first real off road climb was too much for 4 year old legs and a single speed bike as I knew it would be, but he gave it a go and we stopped for a drink half way up.
We carried on up by pushing the bikes until the next pedalling opportunity that Dan took and off we went.
I only took charge once during the ride, as we were going up the hill I saw a few aerials on the hill which are never usually there so I asked Dan if we could go and have a look, his curiosity was piqued to so diverted to the vehicles, masts and encampment and discovered that it was a Radio Ham competion. But what really caught my eye was this:
The Hams were using an old ex Royal Signals Scam 12 mast. This was the type of antenna mast I used for 12 years of my Army career and it was great to see one again. I chatted to the guys a bit about them and I was as delighted as them that I could help them out with one or two problems that they had with them. All simple stuff that a bit of training cures.
Dan was obviously bored witless by my reminiscing with them about the kit so we cracked on to the top where yet another photo op for Dan awaited!
We carried on to the other side of the hills and went home around the back of Rubery, a bit on the pavement but finished off our journey off road. We did according to my Garmin just 3 1/2 miles, but as I said at the start, it isn’t about the distance.
Due to circumstances I missed out on what I know would have been a cracking day out with the lads down south, but I can say with absolute certainty that I enjoyed this 2 hours for 3 1/2 miles trip just as much. It was great fun and I hope I have now sowed the seeds of MTBing with my lad.