Cyclesprog adventures - meeting Bertie Maffoons and the captain
Cyclesprog adventures - this weekend we've been winding our way down the country to our final holiday destination of Cornwall. Thankfully we've been heading in the opposite direction to the majority of the traffic, and the bad weather - phew!
We stopped off in Malborough, Wiltshire, and spotted a sign for the brilliantly named Bertie Maffoons Bicycle Company. We couldn't resist a name like that and found a small, but well stocked bike shop tucked away in a courtyard. Seeing they stock rear bike seats, balance bikes as well as kids bikes, we thought we'd better introduce ourselves.
This was a daunting task, as little did the guy in the shop know, but he was the first professional bike retailer we'd spoken to since launching the site. Would he laugh at our naivety? Would he tell us all about another site we've missed that renders all our efforts obsolete?
Thankfully, no! He was a Dad himself, used to live near us, and is heavily involved in his local Sustran's group. We therefore had a great chat about Free Range Kids, the National Cycle Network, Deeside Paper Mill (!) and The Wirral Way.
What we learnt from the encounter is to always ask for someone's name! If you read this, please do let us know....
We ended our day at the New Inn in Coleford, just outside Exeter - one of the most picturesque and unspoilt locations we've ever been to. We'd like to say a big thank you to George, who managed to accommodate us despite our inadequacies in booking for the day we were arriving there.
We stayed in the Hay Loft suite, which was perfect for our two boys. They loved seeing the entrances to the Hay Loft high above them, and were ecstatic that there was plenty of room to run around. They had folding beds in the spacious lounge, allowing us the rare luxury of a room all to ourselves.
The highlight of the stay for them came after dinner, when George appeared with a bird cage containing a 34 year old Amazon Blue called Captain. The boys were beside themselves with excitement when he started to speak, and as he progressed through "Hello Captain", "Pretty Polly" and "Pieces of Eight" their faces were a joy to see.
We would recommend The New Inn if you're looking for somewhere to stay near Exeter, as there is some good family cycling in this area. It's family friendly too - we were offered DVD's and children's size cutlery - and of course Captain provides the entertainment while you have a drink at the bar.
"It was fun talking to the parrot - I didn't want to leave as it was such fun there. The best bit was staying in the hotel because we could make things out of the pillows" - N aged 6
"There was a REAL parrot. Don't put your finger in its cage or it will bite you" - T aged 3
In February 2013, we received the following information from Simon
"I just came across your blog about stopping in Marlborough and as a local biker I thought I would update you. Bertie Maffoons is run by Sean Wratten and his wife Michelle and is no longer in the small shop off the High Street. At the end of last year they moved to larger premises, a new unit just at the edge of our small town, far better in my opinion, so look them out if you are passing again."
Thanks so much for getting in touch Simon - we'll call in again if we're passing that way.
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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