My plan over the Christmas break had been to get back out on the road bike or at the very least have some sessions on the turbo trainer but the rush of family life inevitably took hold. I decided that the next best thing would be to take one of my sons out on the bike to grab a coffee and juice and to get some much needed fresh air. The promise of chips made getting him prepared for the cycle an easy task. Suitably prepared for the cold and with new helmet on we started on our usual route along the beach.
This route is ideal as it offers miles of smooth, flat pavement with no side roads so you are not constantly stopping for traffic. My years of commuting in Aberdeen by bike mean that I am well aware of the driving standards and am not willing to endanger my son by cycling on the road. I wish this wasn’t the case and that we lived in more enlightened times but I still feel lucky to have suitable cycling right on my doorstep.
This is North Sea beach so wipe any visions you might have of sun-kissed, golden sands and topless cycling. This is the kind of cycle where the salty wind erodes your face and there is nowhere to hide when cycling straight into a bock headwind. But this is not cycling for the sake of speed; this is cycling for the sake of pure enjoyment and for talking to your son. At this age it really feels that on every cycle we do he is becoming less of kid and more of a boy with all the curiosity that comes with it. The cycling offers a great chance to just talk without distraction and I would recommend it to any father.
Fighting a headwind the entire way we made it finally to the café at the promenade and locked the bike. There are many cafes to choose from but, through a thoroughly iterative process, we have discovered the one that does the best chips. The coffee is average but these are the sort of sacrifices you make when you have kids.
Despite the overcast sky, we sat outside in an effort to get some more fresh air and the birds caused enough distraction to allow me to “borrow” a few chips from my son. I justify such blatant thievery on the basis that a) I paid for them and b) my legs did the cycling.
With the chips finished, my son was ready to a house now recently taken over by a mass of Christmas gifts. Now with a tailwind I was travelling with ease and the only thing on my mind was a strange rhythmic noise coming from the bike. I listened closely to try to figure out the origin of the noise, not particularly surprised that an eighty quid bike from Halfords would eventually start to have issues. On a side note, the bike has been an absolute beast and has proven to be excellent value for money.
My aural investigations were proving fruitless until I started to realise that I had not heard much from Luka in the back for a while. I assumed he was just admiring the view but in actual fact when I looked round he was fast asleep and snoring loudly as usual. This was a watershed moment and I finally got to use the recline function of the Hamax bike seat. It is not called the Hamax Siesta for nothing and with one hand I could turn the knob behind me so that Luka was practically horizontal.
I cycled him home and to a proper bed, jealous that someone was able to be comfortably asleep rocking in a bike seat.
This is when cycling is boring and it is also great. This is when cycling is slow and it is also enlightening. It is an opportunity to spend time talking to my son and instill a love of cycling and the joys that it can bring. For me, a bike seat is the best thing a parent can buy and offers hours and hours of memory-making opportunities.