Monday, 23 January 2017

Expectant parents

Ruth's birthday this weekend and with it comes the next stage on her cycling journey in the form of a new member of our wheeled family. We just hope she can tell the difference between the 14 and the 16!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Snow Day!

Snow is falling on Darkest Northants today, and it really isn't the kind of day you'd want to be taking your children out on their bikes. I'm charging the GoPro and trying to remember where the sledge went in the basement, instead!

Nevertheless, Thomas Ivor will be putting in a few miles today, without leaving the lounge. Here's his little guide to riding on a Turbo Trainer...

Putting a child on the trainer is really not as hardcore or complicated as it sounds. With a suitable rear skewer (you're likely to need to use the old-fashioned looking one that comes with your trainer) we found our Elite trainer to be capable of taking his previous bike, the Islabikes Beinn 20.

Riding on the spot is a bit boring at the best of times, but the television comes to the rescue and we are fans of the videos by GCN which actually involve climbing a hill on the screen - some days Thomas Ivor just watches cycling videos and has a spin to turn his legs, rather than going all-out on a specific training session.

Lots of people get very jumpy, or even accusatory, about parents measuring data with children, but what you do with the data is the key thing! My own scepticism went out of the window when we proved that a cadence meter is an ideal way to teach a child with an interest in maths, how to use their gears. In the case of the turbo, a cadence meter is a very useful thing to have on the bike, to make sure the rider isn't labouring slowly under too much load. This is all the more important with young knees and feet. A heart rate monitor allows me at a glance to enter the room and know how hard Thomas Ivor is working, not because I am about to crack the whip but because children are not good at 'perceived effort' - for a child to be able to see and act on the numbers to know if they are working too hard, and for a parent to be able to supervise and guide that bit of learning, is a valuable lesson in my book. So much of cycle touring is about knowing your body and the capabilities of your group, and tailoring your endeavours to meet that, from the initial planning to decisions you make during a ride. Bluetooth meters are now available quite cheaply - Thomas Ivor's speed and cadence sensor was £14:99 at Lidl and heart rate monitors were recently on sale at another well known German supermarket.

So, whilst we hope we might be out taking advantage of virgin snow in the park, before the rest of the town's kids even get out of school today, the pedals have still turned, away from the chaos of slippery roads and incompetent drivers. One day we would love to devise a scaled down tool to allow children like little Rhoda to pedal their bikes indoors, too...