The Land Rover Owners Wife

On your bike!

16 Comments

Beautiful, traditional and very comfy to ride.

Beautiful, traditional and very comfy to ride.

Let’s be clear on one very important fact ….. I am no spring chicken! Most days I feel ancient (about 500 years old). My joints ache and if it weren’t for the wonder of modern hair dyes, I’d be very, very grey …… but then I did start going grey in my early thirties and (as any land rover owners wife will tell you) I do have extenuating circumstances.

But I digress.

In June this year Middle Mudlet will be doing her cycling proficiency training and test which all the primary schools in our area offer, free, to Year 5 pupils. Before the training begins, all the children taking part have to present their bikes for a safety check. With this in mind, Mud and I realised that Middle Mudlets existing bike just wouldn’t pass muster and her request for a new one for her birthday wasn’t at all unreasonable.

So Middle Mudlet became the proud owner of an Apollo Elusion which whilst not being the best quality bike in the world was more than adequate and would last her a good few years. Little Mudlet, who had outgrown her own bike, inherited her sisters old one and one afternoon, a week or so ago, with Mud and I on foot, we took the Mudlets on a bike ride up one of the lanes that surround our village. This first expedition proved a couple of things:

  • Middle Mudlets old bike is woefully inadequate, well past its’ best and needs retiring; and
  • Mud and I are too old to be trying to keep up on foot with two very energetic children on bikes!

“We’ll have to get Little Mudlet a new bike,” Mud declared a shortwhile later, as we struggled to recover from what had turned out to be quite a brisk 2 mile walk.

A press of a big red button detaches the basket

A press of a big red button detaches the basket

I had to agree, as our poor youngest daughter had really had to work hard to keep up with her older sisters new, multi-geared mountain bike. In the end we decided that we would get a new bike for Little Mudlet now but it would actually be a birthday present, although her birthday is months away yet. Muds’ reasoning was that if we waited for her birthday then she wouldn’t really be able to ride it much, as winter would be just around the corner but if we bought it now, she would get the use over the summer. With that decided Little Mudlet then spent an enjoyable 20 minutes or so looking through the bikes on the Halfords website, before finally choosing one that she really, really liked.

“We’ll get that ordered, ” Mud told her …… and then he floored me by declaring, “Of course it’s not much fun for the girls to have to stop every hundred meters or so while we catch up. We’ll have to get bikes too, so that we can go for long rides as a family!”

The latter part of this declaration was  made as though this was a fantastic treat, to which I should be looking forward with gusto and huge amounts of enthusiasm. Instead I am absolutely positive that all colour drained from my face and a look of pure fear took up residence.

Was he mad? Me? On a bike?

As Mud continued to wax lyrical about the benefits and pleasure to be found in regular bike rides and began the search for a suitable bike for himself, local tracks and cycle paths and read reviews on everything from the bikes to water bottles, I was trying to work out when was the last time I actually ridden a bike?

The answer? Thirty years ago ………… and I came off ………… over the handlebars …….. and it hurt ….. a lot!

Much like when he had decided that the car I needed was one bereft of any mod cons and which required the use of a step ladder to access the cab, Mud steamrolled over all my objections listing the benefits of bike ownership, such as exercise, being able to nip to the shop in the next village without using the cars, the money saved on diesel etc, etc. Of course this put me in mind of the list of benefits originally put forward for buying the land rovers, you know phrases like ‘cheap to maintain and repair’ …… hmmm.

Mud had soon identified his dream bike, had read every review ever written about it (and there were plenty of them) and would have ordered it there and then but for the fact that he wasn’t entirely sure what frame size he needed. Then it was my turn.

“You need to be looking at mountain bikes,” he said, pushing the mouse into my hand.

My nice, comfortable saddle

My nice, comfortable saddle

Dutifully I trawled Halfords looking for a bike I might be happy riding, briefly deviating from instructions and dipping into the realms of the Hybrid before utterances of ‘You need a mountain bike’ steered me back to the appropriate pages. I finally found one I quite liked to look off which wasn’t over expensive and which even had rear suspension. I f I really had to have a bike and it had to be a mountain bike, then this one would do.

Friday last week, Mud had the day off and decided that we would go try the bikes in Halfords first thing which we did and when we got home there was no putting off the inevitable and the bikes were ordered.

“Look hunny,” an excited Mud said, almost bouncing round the room,”They’ll be ready for collection tomorrow!”

Great.

Unfortunately Saturday morning brought with it the news that my bike had been badly damaged in transit and would I like a replacement or to choose something else. Now surely this was a sign that it simply wasn’t meant to be? That bicycles weren’t destined to be a part of my life. That two feet or four wheels were to be my mode of transport for the foreseeable future. I hadn’t been around for that fateful phone call but Mud had, it transpired, enjoyed a lengthy conversation with the Halfords employee discussing the best way forward and the following facts were disclosed:

  • The bike I had chosen was made of inferior materials and probably wouldn’t cope well with the sort of riding we’d be doing; and
  • A hybrid bike (the sort I had been looking at in the first place) would probably suit the sort of riding I’d be doing with the family and I would more than likely get a better quality bike for not very much more money.
The view back from the halfway point

The view back from the halfway point

At this point I already had an idea as to which bike I wanted as I had seen it in Halfords the day before. Back to Halfords website and I selected the filters to bring up womens hybrids but the bike wasn’t there! How odd. Not to be beaten I tried a different tactic and selected the make of bike instead and there it was in all its’ feminine, old fashioned glory – the Pendleton Brooke Hybrid bike! And it had a choice of bundles (bet you only thought they came with games consoles) including one with a wicker basket which we had already decided was a must, as I would potentially be using my bike to nip to the shop.

So today I got my bike, we packed a picnic into the basket and trundled off on a family bike ride along one of the village lanes. After some 30 years, it was a little unnerving to be back on a bicycle but we did a round trip of a  little under 4 miles and I have to say that I am feeling every one of my 500 years tonight. However, my bike was a delight to ride, with a comfortable saddle (unlike Muds bike saddle – he’s already had to buy a more comfortable replacement) and I’m guessing the padded cycle shorts Mud also bought me helped as well.

Talking of Mud, he has announced that he is going to cut back on his cigarettes to help repay part of the cost of his bike ……… but then he made that promise once before …… there’s a reason his Land Rover is called Ciggy you know!

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16 thoughts on “On your bike!

  1. Oh I love your bike! I can just see that basket filled with a loaf of bread and some flowers as you tootle back from the shops:-)

  2. Good luck! At least you’ve bought it with summer ahead so it should get some good use. I rode a bike to school every day so cycling has far from happy memories for me and I’d rather walk and take longer to get there. But I do like the look of your bike with its basket on the front.

  3. Brilliant! I admired the Pendleton bikes in Halfords at Christmas. But I’m unlikely to buy one 😉

  4. Owning both a road bike and a mountain bike, I absolutely loved this post!!
    What you have ended up with is perfect for what you have in mind. A mountain bike is great on windy forest paths with lots of lumps and bumps but can be quite hard work on the surfaced roads.
    Lovely to think of all of you out together on your bikes!

    • Hi Lucie, it was nice being out as a family, although Mud has discovered that being restricted to the pace of the slowest family member (poor old little Mudlet on the old chopper style bike) isn’t easy on his new bike 🙂

      He opted for a Voodoo Bizango 29er and the size of his tyres means that he only needs to pedal once every quarter of a mile or so to keep up which kind of defeats the object somewhat 😀

      Hopefully when her new bike arrives Little Mudlet will find things easier and we’ll be able to pick up the pace a little, as it will be geared and a Mountain Bike 🙂

  5. I have a hybrid too, and the step thru frame is a must for me now as I’m facing a hip replacement soon. I do so want a wicker basket. Perhaps I’ll finally get one for my next birthday. The comfy saddle is so important. I’m on my third, we quickly retired the original and the first replacement wasn’t much help (we bought my bike mid-pregnancy, as you do). Although I hear Freddy Mercury in my head every time I get on it!

  6. Pingback: New saddle – Selle Royal Respiro | mud4fun

  7. Hi, where is your basket from? I’ve just bought the Brooke 🙂 but heard the pendleton basket doesn’t fit it?
    Thanks

    • Hi Rebecca,

      The basket is a Halfords one which we got with the bike as part of a bundle deal. The only issue I have with it is the lack of a supporting frame for the bottom which makes it impractical for anything more than milk and a loaf of bread, as the weight drops it almost onto my mud guards. However, I did find a suitable front wheel mounted frame on ebay which we’ll end up getting eventually 🙂

  8. Haha not practical but it looks good 😉

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