In recent weeks, I have been the only member of the family who has been able to get out on a bike on a regular basis. A huge workload has kept poor Mud tied to his desk late most nights and his well documented ability to attract bad weather on those days he isn’t working, has meant that family bike rides over the weekends have become a dim and distant memory, as what seems to be an entire weeks worth of rain is deposited in and around our village over Saturday and Sunday, making the thought of a bike ride, far from a pleasant prospect.
Every year, the year 5 children in North Lincolnshire schools are offered the opportunity to undertake a basic road safety cycling course, otherwise known as Cycling Proficiency and, with Middle Mudlets safety paramount in our minds, Mud and I readily signed her up for this years course. Sessions of 1.5 hrs (with a 10 minute break half way) were held, over 4 consecutive Wednesdays and during these, the eight year 5 pupils from our school who had signed up for the course, were taught:
Okay, so not a wagon exactly … well at all really ….. but two wheels on my bike didn’t have the same ring and that particular phrase doesn’t, as far as I am aware, figure in a 1961 song about the wild west and the efforts of a pioneer family to escape Cherokee Indians.
Due to the issues with Annies engine, the weather, illness and general time constraints, we haven’t been able to fit in a family bike ride for about two weeks now and in actual fact, for the most part, the only member of Mudville who has been able to benefit from bike ownership in recent weeks, has been me. I have been able to take advantage of the weather during the school week and have managed 2 to 3 bike rides, of 5 to 7 miles duration, each week and the effort is paying dividends in respect of inch loss, fitness levels, my general sense of well being, not to mention an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
‘Lincolnshire is flat’, is a statement I’ve heard any number of times over the years and, to be fair, it’s a view that I’ve subscribed to in some degree for much of the past 12 years or so. On the face of it, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a pretty accurate way to describe the vast majority of the landscape and that although there are some hills about, these are few and far between….. hardly worth mentioning. Well after nearly 8 weeks and just under 90 miles of cycling, I can tell you that Lincolnshire is not flat and I have the aching leg muscles to prove it!
The week before half term, poor Middle Mudlet was struck down by a nasty infection which left her in great pain and with fever, shivers, headaches, nausea and total loss of appetite. Things weren’t helped when the out of hours doctor failed to recognise what to me were obvious signs of a bad infection, sending us home with nothing more than paediatric paracetamol, thereby delaying the start of antibiotics for a further 12 hours. Thankfully a visit to our GP the following day, was more successful and a seven day course of antibiotics was immediately prescribed.
Along with the heavy rainfall last week, came puddles, horrible, gloopy mud, the realisation that none of our bikes had mudguards and that riding in these conditions wouldn’t be the pleasantest experience in the world. So Mud set to and started the hunt for suitable mudguards for all the bikes. After several hours trawling through the various models available, he narrowed his selections down to a couple and then spent several more hours reading a plethora of reviews, most of which were to do with the ones he had found for his own bike.