Following a few nights of not much sleep, I bailed on the Muddies ride up Willunga Hill and thought (hoped) that the ride I had teed up with my 11 year old nephew would go some way to remediating my lack of activity! The ride was due to take place on Sunday morning and as my nephew, who used to be a bit of a bike hater, has become the kid who can get around a rolling trail for 40km (with a few breaks), I figured that the 40km ‘L’ ride route would be a decent test for him and a bit of fresh air for me.
Rolling up to the nephew’s house the surprises started. Nephew now had a friend joining him (another 11 year old), who had a reasonably new hybrid and wanted to see if he could ride with his mate who has the Uncle who is the pro-cyclist! Hmmm, how did THAT happen?!! Surprise number two was that other nephew (13 years old) wanted to join in too! Oh yeah, and surprise number three was that a further two young lads who were long-time friends of my nephews (11 and 14) would be coming.
So with five young fellas in tow and the logistics of moving 6 bikes sorted out with my sister we arrived at the start and, after pumping up ALL of their MTB tyres to a pressure that would deem them rideable I felt like I had already ridden the route for the day! I did find out, though, that young kids of today are looking forward to their first energy drink rather than their first sip of alcohol!
Setting ground rules for these boys was essential. Single file, not too close, not too far. Stay left. Watch out for people opening car doors! No haring off into the distance. No leaving anyone behind. Do what I tell you (and we all may just survive)! They were also introduced to the call of ‘car back’ and it was explained why this call was made (to warn all riders of an approaching car). I then made them all practice it before we headed off up Weatherald Terrace! (It wasn’t an exhaustive list of instructions by any means).
There was an issue with one of the older lad’s bikes who had a leak through the valve (and we had no spare MTB tube). So after waiting for a lift for him and his bike (which included a water fight with bidons fired from point blank range) the remaining five of us made a trip to the back of Moana and back to Port Noarlunga, which totalled about 20km. In that time there was one near miss when crossing a road, but none when riding on the roads or tracks themselves. There was one of the riders who struggled with that distance, but it was probably the first time he’d been outdoors and away from his PS3, X-Box or DS in quite some time! Now he knows he can ride 20km too.
The best part of the day for mine occurred on the way ‘up’ to Seaford along Griffiths. I’d just lead the boys through the traffic lights and past the Seaford Hotel when I heard a call of ‘Car-Back!’ repeated four times. They had started looking out for each other.
The hope that we would all get back to the bakery in one piece was realised and it seems that there are some young lads looking forward to their next ride. There did also seem to be some relieved parents who had benefitted from some impromptu kid-sitting! I should have charged a fee!
I reckon I got more out of it anyway.
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