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Wow! Doesn't time fly? It's hard to imagine that it's 5 years ago this weekend that we launched Cycle Sprog. It all started out as a crazy idea when we were looking for some gloves to keep our 3 year olds hands warm when sitting in a front bike seat:
Me - "Why isn't there a website about cycling with kids? It's so hard to find anything out about the kit needed. They keep growing so once we've sorted it, we need to start again."
Chris - "Why don't you set one up then?"
Me - "Because we've got two kids under the age of 5 and I have a stressful job that involves 2 hours commuting every day"
The rest, they say is history! Chris came up with the name Cycle Sprog in the bath, and the daily 2 hour commute proved a brilliant time to write the articles that formed the core of the website when we launched it 6 months later.
May 2012 seems like a lifetime away now. It was before Bradley Wiggins had won the Tour de France and before the unforgettable London 2012 Olympics. If you wanted a quality kids bike you had to buy an Islabike (and most people thought you were crazy to spend that much money on a kids bike). Frog Bikes were planning their launch. Balance bikes and tagalongs were starting to gain popularity, but you still had to explain what one was every time you went out. If you cycled to school or pre-school with your kids you were usually in a minority of 1, and cargo bikes were something reserved for the Dutch.
And the Cycle Sprog family looked like this:
Fast forward 5 years and things have certainly changed a lot! Cycling has had a resurgence - as a sport, a means of transport and a family activity. The number of quality kids bikes on the market has grown hugely, and there's a slightly wider range of kids sized cycling gloves! So many more people understand the benefits of lightweight kids bikes, and the joys of family cycling.
We've been on a brilliant journey over the past 5 years, riding in some incredible places on some great bikes. We've met inspirational people, both virtually and in person, who have provided both support and advice.
Cycle Sprog has grown from a website with a few pages about cycling with young children to a much bigger resource with reviews of bikes, clothing, events and kit. We've published recommendations for great places to cycle as a family, and inspirational articles on long distance cycling and family cycling holidays.
The Cycle Sprog family has grown so much over the 5 years. Our Facebook page has become a place to go on a Sunday evening to share where you've been riding that weekend, and we've recently joined Instagram where we're aiming to inspire people to get out family cycling and sharing their photos using #cyclesprog. Lots of people have written for us about their favourite family cycling routes and riding experiences, and others have become product reviewers.
The original four of us have grown a lot too:
There are a few people who we need to thank along the way. Of course we need to start with a huge thanks to our friends and family who have supported us with our crazy idea. A particular thanks to Kathryn who has acted as reviewer, author, mentor and friend every step of the way, Lorraine who is simply fabulous, and to Ted and Pauline (the latter has read every word we've written!)
To our wonderful band of guest bloggers who, like us, just want to inspire more people to cycle. Such as Emma who has written an entire series about cycling in Yorkshire and Liz, who was one of our early guest bloggers, and wrote an entire series about their family cycling holiday in Holland. Steven has written about kit and routes, Dawn has shared her experiences of cycling pregnant and as a new mum, and Jen has been reviewing bikes.
Thanks to all those readers who wanted to share their experiences with others, like Rachel who told us how she started to cycle with her son, Paul, who went on a family cycling adventure to the Scottish Islands, and Jo who took her young family to France for a cycling holiday. The list could go on and on so thanks to everyone who has written guest blogs - you're so inspirational.
Thanks too to those people striving to get more families to cycle whom we met online and have got to know in person, and who have supported us along the way, including Ruth-Anna McQueen, Sally Hinchcliffe, Suzanne Forup and Isla Rowntree. Special mention must also go to members of the Family Cycling Facebook Group who provide advice and feedback on a regular basis.
Thanks too to all the companies who we've worked with along the way to bring you news and reviews about family cycling kit. Islabikes, Frog Bikes, Cube and Polaris are some of the bigger names, as well as Today's Cyclist who have introduced us to lots of new products.
Of course, the reason we do all this is to inspire more people to get out and cycle as a family. So, a MASSIVE thanks must go to all our readers and followers. When someone tells us that they've been on their first bike ride due to something they read on Cycle Sprog, or tried a new route or discovered a new way to transport their young children, it's a wonderful feeling.
Finally we reserve our biggest thanks to our two Cycle Sprogs, N and T, who have cycled miles, been photographed lots and forced to give their opinions on a wide range of kit. At 8 and 10 they're now great cyclists, budding writers and opinionated reviewers. We're really proud of them and love riding with them.
Here's to the next 5 years - I wonder what they will bring? If you've got any thoughts on what you'd like to see us do, or if you'd like to share your experiences with us as a guest blogger, please get in touch.
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