Wheel size: 23 inches
Number of gears: 15
Speed: 2-and-a-bit miles per hour
Lesson: you can't always tell what's going on on a ride from the raw statistics.
Set off to ride the four whole miles to Ashton Court with 7-year-old Alex on his 6-speeder. More enthusiasm than speed or fitness, but then perhaps I overestimated what such a youngster is capable of. And let us not forget that a typical young-un-bike is relatively speaking a gas-pipe special in comparison with our grown-up steeds.
I usually ride in a 78rpm stylee. There may be lots of breaks for chatter between the records (especially these days) but I tend to go for it when I'm actually pedalling. But once I'd clicked into the 33 1/3 pace of things I had a ball. Despite my recent decision that I would never go there again due to being too out of shape, this ride had 'singlespeed' written all over it. Stopping every hundred yards or so to look at something or have a drink, I was left wondering if I have simply never grown out of my childhood mind's propensity to get distracted easily. Wonderful how time with the little ones teaches you about yourself.
Doughnut stops and climbing an Avon Gorge beacon tower, under the suspension bridge and over to Lockside for a pooh stop. Accidentally take the long way round to cross over to the far side of the river and back down the gorge before crossing the disused single track railway to meet the main road up to the Court.
Busy, narrow, little in the way of pavement. A somewhat cheeky solution presented itself, even if only 20m at a time was rideable due to steps: much more fun to be had coming down, I'd wager. Alex manages more than I expected, but needs his bike carrying at times. Get to the top, onto pavement. Alex promptly manages to fall off. Bad choice of gear perhaps. We decide to push.
Check in with H at the top of the hill, then over to the Timberland. Decide to ride it the 'right' way round despite this being pas-de-rigeur. Alex must be pooped by now, but does a sterling ride at his own pace. I pick my way slowly through the lines, some easy, some hard, get some variety in, wanting a return trip as soon as possible so I can do my own thing.
Damp and grey now, time for some flapjack before taking a shortcut to head for the warmth of the car and hot beverages. Get there just as the cafe is closing, but H has already got the round in. The young'un admits to having had a great time despite being exhausted. Mind you, he's still going strong after a shower now his Polish cousin has got the games going on the laptop.
I'm off for a bath, out for a curry tonight. Three hours and then some to do all of about seven miles, yet still I have a huge grin inside and out. Things may be different with a little one in tow, but for sure that's no bad thing.