Today we decided to take a family bike ride. The problem is that our bikes are knackered (I haven't ridden mine in seven years and it's been stored outside), so we hired some.
I pictured the day; beautiful, sunny, a picnic by the adventure trail followed by a leisurely pedal around the stanwick lakes sculpture trail. It was going to be beautiful. Maybe we'd do it every Exeat and holiday; maybe I'd even take the kids without Matt and do it sometimes whilst he's at work...
Unfortunately stanwick lakes was closed due to flooding, so the rangers had banned bike hire.
Not to worry though, Grafham Waters was still open, so we headed over there. Here are ten things I learned.
1. The children will only enjoy being in the bike trailer for approximately eight minutes. After that the novelty wear off and they will need to be distracted with with snacks/singing the entire way to keep from crying.
2. If somewhere has been closed for flooding, the place down the road is probably pretty wet too. You will get covered in mud, and there is no 'way around' most of the flooding - you just have to plough on through.
3. If you set off and the bike is too big you should stop and adjust it. Complaining eight miles in that you have to fall off the bike in order to stop will be humiliating when your husband flicks a switch and adjusts it.
4. Likewise, make sure you know how to ride a bike. Getting halfway round with legs like jelly only to have your husband point out that you haven't changed gears for five miles leads nicely to my next revelation...
5. It's always hillier than you expect it will be. Stop rejoicing at the downhills, you'll have to go uphill again very shortly to complete the circuit at the same point you started out at.
6. If you hire a bike, be careful with the brakes. The lightest feather-y touch can lead to instant stop and you flying over the handle bars. In fact I like to apply the 'Mario Kart' principle - never touch the brakes.
7. If your child poops in their diaper four miles in, they will not 'settle' for you to do the next six miles. You must pull over and change the diaper, no matter how wet/flooded the ground is.
8. The wind and rain feel colder when you you are cycling, bring a coat and gloves - or steal your sons hat. He's in a trailer anyway, he doesn't need it.
10. I LOVE family bike rides. Yes it was cold and muddy, but it was fun.
And I can't wait to do it again!
P.s no.11 is that no matter how old and respectable you are, you feel like a naughty teenager if you ride around a car park with your hoodie on.