8 things I've learnt in the past year
Wow - it's been a while since I blogged! Regular visitors to Cycle Sprog may have noticed that things have been quiet on the website, and I'd like to explain why.
At the end of November 2013, I was given a once in a career opportunity to go and work in Dublin on the type of urgent project that I hope never to have to work on again. Given 24 hours to decide whether to take the role, I initially signed up for a few weeks, which rapidly became months, and suddenly here we are in March 2015 and I'm just getting back to some sort of normality!
Whilst I've been away I've learnt a few valuable truths, which I'd like to share with you:
1) Don't try and do it all - something has to give
When the scale of the project I was managing became clear, it was obvious that I couldn't continue to juggle everything in my life, and I had to make some very severe priority calls. This meant that sadly Cycle Sprog had to take a back seat for a while (along with lots of other things, people and places). It was a difficult choice, but means as a family we're all in one piece, and raring to go again.
2) Don't deprioritise the cycling
Whilst Cycle Sprog had to be put on hold, I very quickly learnt that I couldn't take cycling out of my life. There is nothing quite like a ride to and from work, or at the weekends, to get the smiling muscles working. Once it became clear I'd be in Dublin over the summer months, this was made bearable by the thought of evening rides out to the coast - the perfect way to de-stress after a hard days work!
3) You don't know what 'good' looks like until you see it
Dublin is a wonderful place to cycle. In time I'll write more about it, but it was the first time in my life that I was able to ride on proper cycling infrastructure. My 5 mile commute to and from the office was a pleasure, and all those articles I'd read about 'Space for Cycling' and 'Dutch' style infrastructure suddenly made much more sense. You can imagine what it looks like, but really need to experience it to understand. Being able to introduce my boys to it was fabulous.
4) Once you've experienced good, it's hard to go back to bad
Having ridden on decent cycling infrastructure I have found the return to cycling on the UK's roads rather difficult. Finding myself mixing it with lorries, fast moving vehicles or parked cars has been stressful, and really brought home the importance of the campaigns for better cycle infrastructure.
5) 2014 was a fabulous year for cycling
If you're going to take a year away from writing a cycling blog and running a cycling website try not to let it be the one where the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire. Or the one where the Commonwealth Games comes to Glasgow. Or the one where the brilliant Family Cycling Facebook page and Twitter Account is launched. Or the one where cycling suddenly became THE thing to be doing.
Thankfully we didn't miss out on all the action - I just never got a chance to blog about it. I guess it's probably too late to write up what a fabulous time we had riding up Cragg Vale, the longest single incline in England first thing in the morning of the second stage of Le Tour. Or that we had a great time cheering on the Time Trail riders through the streets of Glasgow. Take it from me we did!
6) People want to cycle with their kids
Whilst we've been away a very strange thing has happened. Visitor numbers to Cycle Sprog continue to increase month on month, and email enquiries into us from parents continue to rise. This is partly because more people are looking for information on cycling with their family. However, it also reflects the way that Google continue to try to put good quality content high up on their search criteria. Our decision early on not to accept poor quality articles in exchange for cash (however tempting) was a wise one, and as a result Cycle Sprog continues to be a trusted source of information about cycling with children.
7) Our loyal readers are fabulous
During the past 3 years of setting up and running Cycle Sprog we've met, both in person and virtually, some wonderful people. Mums, dads, cycling campaigners, industry experts, retailers, manufacturers, bloggers - the list goes on and on. You know who you are - thank you so much for continuing to send people to Cycle Sprog, and for keeping us up to date with the latest news, views, highs, lows, moans and groans about family cycling.
8) It's good to be back
We've got some exciting plans for 2015, and have some great kit reviews coming very soon, including new accessories from Cube and Sky/Frog, plus the Trail Angel.
Over the next few months we're going to be reviewing some of the best kids bikes available, and having more of our popular cycle holiday articles. And of course we'll be throwing in some of the usual rants about the need for better cycling infrastructure for good measure. As always if anyone wants to contribute any articles or blogs, do get in touch via @CycleSprog or our contact pages.
Here's how to enter this great competition to win up to 5 Islabikes for your Cycle Sprog
We had a great time taking the kids to see the track cycling at the velodrome
It's taken years, but I've finally discovered that I'm not actually weird, I've just been living in the wrong place!
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