…… and that was the verdict of Middle Mudlet after our latest family bike ride. We were a party of five last weekend because Eldest Mudlet had come over for the day and had decided to join us on our weekly excursion up and down the lanes of Lincolnshire. Mud had carefully planned the trip which would, as usual, lead us to a much appreciated ice-cream but before such luxury could be enjoyed, 5 miles of undulating lanes and roads, a detour of 1 mile each way to a local attraction (Horkstow Bridge) and then the 3 miles or so back along allegedly smoother, flatter main roads had to be
Thankfully the first section of the ride was in relatively cool conditions, as clouds had rolled in and a cool breeze was in attendance and we set off with Little Mudlet taking the lead on her lightweight B’twin Mistigirl bike with Mud following her ….. although not quite as sedately as he had been expecting/dreading, as she has mastered this bike superbly and is a little powerhouse on it.
Eldest Mudlet was on Middle Mudlets’ bike for the occasion, owing to the fact that she isn’t much taller than her younger sister and so the bike with the seat at its’ highest point was adequate for her needs. It was originally decided that she would ride with Middle Mudlet and I but it soon became apparent that she was more suited to the pace of the lead pair and so she completed the rest of the ride in their company.
Middle Mudlets Apollo Elusion mountain bike is officially only about 0.5kg lighter than Little Mudlets’ Apollo Oceana. Also, when she had been sized for her new bike, Middle Mudlet had been on the cusp of the largest size childs’ bike ( such as the 24″ Oceana) and the smallest adult bike (the 14″ framed Elusion). So for the purposes of this family outing and bearing in mind that our 10 year old had experienced no problems whatsoever with her own bike, Mud had raised the seat of the Oceana and Middle Mudlet had confidently set out on the ride.
A couple of miles or so in, two things became apparent:
Firstly that the pedals on the Oceana had very poor grip which was causing Middle Mudlet to loose her pedals on quite a regular basis, a problem we had seen with our youngest but had thought was down to her footwear. As the trainers Middle Mudelt was wearing were the same ones she normally uses, without any problems, when on her own bike, we quickly came to the conclusion that this was a design problem with the pedals themselves and could explain to some degree, why our youngest daughter had experienced so much difficulty riding this particular bike; and
Secondly, that even Middle Mudlet was struggling with the weight of this bike.
An hour into the ride and we had arrived at the Grade II listed Horkstow Bridge which, although very beautiful, was looking very neglected and, judging by the smell, was frequently used as a public toilet. Mud has described the bridge and its’ history in more detail on his blog. We had a very quick picnic on the Bridge, away from the awful smell, took some photos and then headed off.
Unfortunately for Middle Mudlet, the lane leading to the bridge had been a downhill gradient which meant the mile back to the main road was a continuous, if gentle, incline and although she tried her hardest, the final couple of hundred yards was just too much for our normally strong little girl. She and I walked the last section back to the main road. At that point I believed, that the effort of keeping her feet on the pedals had caused her to expend so much extra energy, that her reserves were depleting much faster than normal.
The sun had come out by now and the heat added to her woes, making the journey back towards the promised ice-cream a real trial for my little girl but she made it and enjoyed a refreshingly cold Walnut and Maple flavour ice-cream. By the time we made it home, we were all exhausted and Middle Mudlet declared that the lane to the bridge had been just a bit too much for her.
The rest of the day passed by uneventfully culminating in a water fight between the three girls, in which Eldest Mudlet was out manoeuvred by her younger sisters and I made an exciting discovery in my vegetable patch ….. the carrot tops are starting to develop flower heads! My tiny cauliflower had also put on some growth and was now about 2 inches across.
Aching muscles plagued us during the afternoon and Middle Mudlet also had a pain in her back and side, probably from having to ride that tiresomely heavy bike ……… or so we thought.
It is now Thursday and Middle Mudlet has been off school since Tuesday lunchtime. Her back and side pain didn’t ease off and due to a lack of other symptoms we thought it might be a trapped nerve but by Tuesday lunch she had developed a temperature, headache, shivers, nausea and her pain was getting worse. She is now on antibiotics for what is probably a kidney infection, although the doctor wasn’t able to be more specific. We now believe that the infection was already starting to develop on Sunday and that this may explain, to a point, why she struggled so much on the bike ride.
Mind you, you’ll be hard pressed to persuade her to give Little Mudlets bike a second chance, although Mud is looking at getting some better pedals for it. His opinion of the Oceana is that although it is called a ‘Mountain bike’, in reality it is no better than a standard childs bike and is not suitable for use for anything other than riding around the garden, a park or a recreational ground.