Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The day that Rhoda went viral

Well, that was a bit of a surprise. We got back from our training trip to Northumberland and popped up a video clip, and 24 hours later over half a million people have watched the clip on twitter. Rhoda has been retweeted by Chris Boardman, Susan Calman, Jeremy Vine, police forces up and down the country and seemingly the majority of the cycling community in the UK. The BBC, ITV and Road.CC all got in touch to ask if they could run a feature of the video. 

The internet appears to have been ready for a cycling good news story, and we are more than happy to oblige - you see, cycling IS a good news story. Cycling with our children allows us to share with them something that we and they love. 

 Cycling with our children teaches them good habits and makes exercise and the outdoors normal and enjoyable. Children are designed to move. They need to move to develop properly. 

Cycling shows us the world in a different way to other modes of travel and has taken us to places we wouldn’t otherwise go. 

 We need to be seeing children in all our public spaces, including our roads, and not just travelling in private cars. The roads are public space, for everyone to use. If they are going to cycle on roads themselves in the future, they need to be taken on the roads and to learn how to cycle with consideration and how to keep themselves safe. 

At the end of a long, wet ride, we encountered a lorry driver whose consideration and care in passing our family impressed us. The clip on the internet doesn’t do justice to the patience shown - the lorry was sat behind not only Rhoda and Daddy but also Mummy and Ruth, and sheltered us as we laboured up a climb, crossed a bridge and negotiated the busy stretch back into town. The lorry followed at a decent distance from our back wheels to make it clear to us that he was willing to wait and give us the space to negotiate that stretch of road safely. 

 In a world where everyone is in a hurry and those passing us are often closer than they need to be, all four of us were grateful. It stood out. 

We are raising our children to be thankful for kindness shown to them, and to show appreciation, so both Ruth and Rhoda gave a cheery wave and a thank you to the driver, so that he/she would know that we had noticed the care taken and that it meant something. 

We didn’t see the video of Rhoda until we got home and downloaded our memory cards, and we had to say thank you to the driver. We had no concept of how far it would go. We hope it triggers more good passing and more thumbs up and thank yous on the road - what’s not to like about that?! 

What did Rhoda make of “going viral” - well, not a lot, to be honest! It’s all a bit abstract when you’re 4! She was VERY excited that Susan Calman had retweeted her. She’s a big fan of Susan’s, particularly her Strictly Come Dancing appearances. And she was VERY excited to speak to the lovely chap from D&W Agri who called us last night, equally astonished at the scale of response to the video, and rightly proud of his driver, whom we look forward to meeting again, to thank him properly and reflect on a truly remarkable couple of days!

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