The weekend cycling adventures of a non-cycling parent

What's it like being the parent of two Cycle Sprogs who want to fill every possible moment of a weekend with cycling activities?  In this great guest blog, Cycle Sprog reader Carl has kindly given us the low down of what an average weekend entails for him (a non-cycling parent) plus his thoughts on the bikes his two boys ride. Over to you Carl:

This weekends cycling adventures of a non-cycling parent:

With the warm weather has come the return of the “Spring in the Park”, a road race series for children in the South East. After an F1 type tyre change from cyclocross to road tyres (in doors at 5:30, tyre change and dinner before leaving the house at 5:40) – we were on our way and at the venue for the 6:00 sign on and 6:30 start.

The venue (the Cyclopark Gravesend) was very busy. With a new signing on system from last year it was more organised. We managed to get signed on and get ready in record time (15 mins!). The race started at 6:30 on the dot.

Spring in the Park kids cycle racing in Gravesend Kent

My big racer was on his Frog 67 – a bike we “hire” through “The Bike Club”. It’s a great bike and has really changed the way he feels about road racing.

After all of the commotion he managed to finish 8th out of 13 boys - a result he was not happy with. But it’s a result that he can improve on. Our little rider was not keen to join in – so he just rode about the spectator area.

Day one - done!

On Saturday we took both our little riders to their cycle club. Unfortunately the little rider’s bike is in the shop so we had hoped to borrow a 16inch from the club for a day. But upon arrival in the club stores, the little one saw a 20 inch Hoy Bonaly, jumped on and did not look back.Hoy Bonaly 20 kids geared bike

The 2h session worked their off road skills such as ascending and corners in rough ground and both the big rider and little rider did really well.

Big and little doing the off road riding

The club have graciously lent us the Hoy until its not needed, so the little rider is VERY excited. He is on the same sized bike as his older brother and now changes gear.

Day two - done!

Sunday was meant to be a Go Ride in South London. When we arrived issues around insurance meant that the race had to be cancelled, but it was convert to a training session. Both of our little riders took their bikes, but the youngest got cold feet and hung around at the edges of the group half joining in but never really engaging. Which is fine for 4 years old!

Go-Ride training session for a 4 year old

Race starts were the order of the day, with lots of talk on pedal position and power.

Go Ride Training session - cycling club for kids and children

This session was held on a 400m track, and as the children had completed a 400m time trial in February they all had another go to compare their old times. My big rider managed to shave 4 seconds off of his time, which was a success and made up for the disappointment of his 8th place finish Friday.

Riding a Frog 67 Road Bike at Go-Ride training session on track

2h of training took its toll and there were many ZZZ's on the way home.

At home a garden obstacle course was in order as they both sought to ride some table tops and weave through the cones.

Day three - done!  A weekend in the life of a non cycling Dad. I just feel lucky that this weeks rugby was called off and we didn’t have Judo!!

Shout out to all of the amazing volunteers at all of these events and events all over the UK. As a volunteer sports coach I know the energy it takes to run clubs and to organise such events.

So thank you. And have a look at the faces of these two – because with you, these smiles would not be anywhere near as cheesy!

Big and little siting pretty Satuday at cycle club

A brief write up of the bikes used in our house:

The Wiggins range:

We have had a Wiggins Macon (16" wheel) and a Chartres 20 and will be getting the Chartres 24 when the bigger rider needs it in the autumn. These are great bikes. The Macon is now 2.5 years old and has had 2 riders. It will come back from servicing and go to the cycle club where it will serve as a great addition to their stock bikes. The back wheel has needed work every service, however my two use it as the "jumping bike" when they are on the ramps because it's lighter and they get real air time!

Hoy Bonaly 20:

The Bonaly 20 inch is again a great bike, but I’ll be honest both my boys prefer the Wiggins Chartres. Maybe its because they prefer Wiggins himself?  Maybe it’s the fact the Wiggins is the bike we brought and its been in the house for a year now? The only tangible complaint is the gears are easier on the Wiggins bike. This could be due to the age difference of the bikes, but the gear changer does not look as friendly.

On a side note the Bonaly 20 looks lower around the bottom bracket and I think the seat can go lower than the Wiggins, which I think helped the little one get him self on the seat.

Frog 67 road

This bike changed the game for big rider. Until this point road racing was pointless - now it all he thinks about. The fact that the gear 9 is set to the max ratio for group D riders (aged 8-10) and the 8 is set the max ratio or group E riders (under 8) is a touch of brilliance.

The Frog Road 67 itself is "fairly" easy to maintain. One thing I would say is - do no buy this bike for children that do not ride very well. My nephew (who is 8 and fairly sporty) tried to ride this bike. He could not get to the drop bars, could not change gear and as the top grips are so narrow (as they would be) could not pick up any speed or manoeuvre the bike. Genuinely appreciate drop handle bikes are a skill and should only be given to children that are serious about riding.

A big thank you to Carl for giving us such a great insight into his weekend duties - total respect for such a swift tyre change and dinner!! If you'd like to write a guest post for Cycle Sprog to inspire, educate or entertain others, then we'd love to publish it.  You can also find out more about our "Sprog Blog" here

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