Archive for the ‘ Children ’ Category

Children Cycling Adventures

A recent family holiday to Devon meant we had easy access to the excellent Tarka Tail. For the first time, the kids were really into the cycling.

First we did a couple of full family rides where the 5 year old gave a good account of himself. I had had the genius idea of giving him the Garmin and he greatly enjoyed calling out the distance, which, being km, built nice and quickly. The plan was to go from Great Torrington to Bideford, however, he wanted to go on to make 10k, so that we’d have 20k total: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1692555934.

He also did an excellent grind back up the 3% “Tunnel Hill” with his mum. A great stoic expression.

The next day we took the path the other way to the excellent Yarde Orchard cafe. The path this way is much rougher with a big climb: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1692555949.

The little one was not impressed by the very slow building of the km, but he made it and the descent meant the return journey was less than half the time.

Having met some older kids at the holiday cottages, the big one fancied a crack at Torrington to Barnstable. I warned him it’d take a long time, but he was still game. The first 10k he went like the clappers, then the stopping started to creep in. We stopped for lunch past Instow. I was expecting that he’d want to turn back after lunch, but the sandwiches (and cookies) evidently revived him and we pressed on to Barnstable. We made it and I took the lead on the way back so that the boy could take my wheel. This meant far fewer stops and we completed the 45km in just under 5 hours: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1692555973.

Most importantly, he learned to eat ice creme like a true Audaxer:

The evidently gave him some energy, because we flew up the “Tunnel Hill” and he said “was that it?” at the top!

 

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Taking the boy(s) cycling

I recently acquired a Roland Add+Bike. Unfortunately, it arrived at the same time as the snow, so it’s been sitting around for 2-3 weeks.

My older boy (just reaching 4) had gotten far to big and heavy for a child seat, also, it wasn’t an interesting experience for him. I wanted something bike like that would also allow me to carry my youngest son (almost 2). Thus a trailer was out of the reckoning, especially as our one experience with a 2 child trailer was fighting and crying (not the wife and I). Most tag-alongs didn’t allow a child seat as well, due to the mounting, the CTC also recommends strongly against ones that attach to the seat post (not sure why).

My choices were down to the Roland and the Follow Me tandem.  I plumped for the Roland in the end because it gave me a rack, which would be useful for taking my pannier bag to work and that the weight (and bouncyness) of stuff left on the bike when not carrying a child was that much less. This would be important in some sort of future scenario where I had to drop children off at school. The Follow Me would have let me “release” the boy on quiet roads, but I reckon by the time I’d let him cycle a country road, I’d let him cycle residential streets and drive / walk him over the busy bits.

Initial impressions are very good. Everything seems put together nicely and you get “proper” components: Shimano hub gear, Schwalbe tyres etc. The rack took a little while to fit and it on the heavy side (1.8kg!!!), so not one for the CF road bike, but probably a good thing when pulling your progeny.

Roland02 roland01

 

The boy seemed to really enjoy it as well and demanded “an adventure” (1 mile round the block, but don’t tell him). The day after these photos, I put the young man’s brother on the back in a seat and went for another couple of miles.

I worried about stopping without my stoker putting his feet down, but, I didn’t have any trouble balancing with one leg down and starting off was fine. I did really notice the additional drag of the tag-along, to the extent that when I added an extra 10-15kg brother in the seat, it made almost no difference. I noticed afterwards that the Roland’s tyre was on the soft side (not flat though), so pumping that up should help. Also you may notice that I still have on my super draggy ice tyres, which can’t help. Perhaps this gives insight into why the trike was so slow though…

More to come I hope. 🙂