I am a pretty ordinary sort of cyclist.  I have no special talent for cycling, but I do quite like it (ok, I like it a lot).

I learned to ride a bike at about the normal age for riding a bike, went through the rite of passage of taking off the stabilisers on the lawn at home in Derby (“don’t let go Dad!”) and did countless laps of the cul-de-sac where my parents lived with the other kids who came out to play in the evenings.

I cycled at university (owning a bike being almost mandatory in Oxford), and dabbled in cycling whilst living in London, riding mainly for utility (to Hendon station to get a bit of exercise during the morning commute, and cycling to rowing training at Twickenham).

I bought my first road bike as I started more regularly making the 25 mile round trip as a “warm up” to rowing training.

After we got married,  I took Tom shopping for his first road bike, and gained my first insight into what it’s like to try to buy a bike when you’re six foot eight.  Having sourced some enormous road shoes, I also witnessed his early ‘clipping in’ incidents, which was the stuff that could easily have ruined a marriage.  Luckily Tom has a sense of humour!

We never quite got the mileage out of the road bikes that we anticipated, as  it wasn’t long until little Ruth was on the way.  I cycled until my burgeoning bump got sufficiently large that I couldn’t eke any more adjustments out of my road bike and that was that!  It got put in the cupboard and gathered dust, and the hallway filled up instead with pushchair, car seat and assorted baby paraphenalia.

I had never toured, or carried panniers until in a moment of madness I said ‘yes’ when Tom proposed cycling up the Outer Hebrides.  I must have been extremely sleep deprived(!) to have agreed to set off whilst on maternity leave with a four month old baby and an eighteen month old toddler behind me in a trailer, accompanied egged on by Tom and Thomas Ivor.   Having said yes, I was trapped committed and we dusted off our old mountain bikes to see what could be done.  We soon discovered that they weren’t going to suit the purpose (mine didn’t have any braze-ons for luggage, and Tom’s, well, it had seen better days), but the double trailer we bought when Thomas Ivor was 2 had barely done any mileage and was like brand new.

We decided to end my maternity leave with a bang, and spent up our savings on two new bikes, some panniers and a tent and set off for the wilds of Scotland.  We surprised ourselves (ok, I was the sceptic, so it would be more accurate to say I surprised myself) by not only surviving, but enjoying it.

I have been pleased to find an outdoors activity that all five of us could participate in.  Rowing, my one time passion,  is a wonderful sport, and I hope one day to get back in a boat, but for now spending time together and treasuring the toddling years is order of the day.  Whilst it may have been Tom who set us off on a path with two wheels, three children and a lot of luggage, these days it’s more likely to be the little three who are demanding a bike ride or a #microadventure!


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  2. Los admiro, desde Argentina les envio mis saludos y los mejores deseos para esa maravillosa familia ciclista. Sigan asi, son un ejemplo a seguir.
    I admire them, from Argentina I send my greetings and best wishes to that wonderful family cyclist. Keep up, they are an example to follow.