spring has sprung and the kids are back on their bikes

I know some of you reading this will still be under several inches of snow, but in our little part of the world, spring has at long last sprung - hurray!!!  It's been such a long time coming, but the past two days the sky has been blue, the snow has melted (apart from the last twisted remains of snowmen standing forlornly in shady spots) and the daffodils are starting to bloom, albeit a month later than usual. It's certainly not warm yet, but the severe chill has gone, and so long as you're wearing the right number of layers it's fun to be outside.

After a long hard winter, this was brought home to me twice yesterday.

Firstly, I was out for a morning run, and had just struggled to the top of the steepest and muddiest hill in the local area. I arrived at the top a little worse for wear to find two young boys aged about 5 and 7. They were wrapped up warm astride their bikes, looking down the muddy slope, with the biggest grins on their faces, waiting for their dog and Dad, who were walking behind.  The whoops of joy as they set off down the hill were wonderful to hear.

In the afternoon, Chris was busy fixing punctures - we've been hit hard with these in the past few weeks, so the surprising good weather has meant some quick work to get the off-road bikes back in service, and ready for some great family bike rides. I, meanwhile, was on kid duty, so we went outside onto the cul-de-sac we're lucky enough to live on.

Living Streets in real life

There's been a lot in the press and in the blogging community about "20's Plenty" "Living Streets" and "Playing Out" recently - the concept of being able to reclaim residential streets from fast moving traffic for kids to move about and play out safely.  Cul-de-sacs are lucky in thisBalance bike for 4 year old respect, as they are naturally much safer than a through road, and in the summer ours often becomes the hub for local kids on their bikes and scooters.

So, with the first hint of the better weather on the way, our boys were out - firstly T was on his balance bike, and N on his BMX.  Now T is 4 and a half, he's almost - but not quite - cycling himself, so I then tried him on the Isla Bike that's ready and waiting for him.

He's not quite mastered the balance and pedalling combination yet (and I'm secretly relieved as it means we can get a few more family rides in using the tag-along or the FollowMe Tandem before we have to slow down again whilst he learns to pedal - does that make me a bad mum?)

However, and as I watched him zooming around on his balance bike, I did wonder if this would be the last time I saw him on it - another one of those things he'll suddenly grow out of - there'll be no going back once he's pedalling!

Balance Bike, Scooter, Skateboards and bikes are great for kids playing out in the streetAfter a while T decided he wanted his three wheeled Mini Micro Scooter (he's super speedy on that), and then N appeared with the new skateboard (he's not!).

Suddenly the neighbours two children arrived, and before I knew it there were children running and wheeling in all directions.  Age didn't matter - the elder two were on the balance bike too, and soon they were all racing each other - running vs scooting, scooting against cycling, and then N was propelling himself along on the skateboard like a misguided bob-sleigher.

It was a wonderful feeling of liberation and community after the harshness of a long winter.  Bring on summer!

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