Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust
Bike n Hike 2015
The Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust has an annual charity event called the Bike n Hike which is to raise money to maintain the fabric of the buildings that have stood the test of time.
The boys and I started this in 2010 when our youngest was just 3. Whilst his older brother and dad cycled between the churches close to our village, I popped the then 3 yr old in the car and he cycled up the church lanes when we got to each church.
Well, 4 years on and we are still doing it! Except there is no car in sight.
Thank goodness the weather was kind to us this year as last year the mud literally put the brakes on us every 2 mins. We timed our route this year and it took an hour less as there was no mud!
We cycled a total of 5.35 miles, with 90 % on paths like the one above and ended up hiking in bits as the brambles and paths were overgrown in places.
But, we had a lovely time and stopped along the way to forage for blackberries.
You register with your local organiser so that they know who is cycling or hiking and get a form which is signed at most churches. Some aren’t manned, so you just sign the register on the door. We always ask the person who is manning the churches to allow the boys to write their own name down on the register and where they have come from and they are so friendly that they let them go ahead. We figure if they have done the mileage, then they can feel important to make their mark (figuratively and literally speaking!)
It’s a great day out and we met loads of bikers and hikers along the way who had done 1 church and some who had visited 29-30 which is amazing! We also seem to have an annual chat with the boys about why they are doing it for charity and what charity means.
Cycling through Thetford Forest
Cycling is something that just happens in our family. We’re lucky enough to live in a quiet village and have loads of fields surrounding us.
We started both our boys off on the 3 wheeler scooters where you have to lean to turn. They were then upgraded to a balance bike at age 18 months or so and both of them just loved it.
For their 3rd birthday, they were given a ‘proper’ bike and with only 30 mins of ‘active help’ they were off on their own. No side wheels, no stabilisers. Just a helmut and a high vis jacket.
The bikes admittedly, have been used for more than one owner. We have high pressure washed and changed stickers, along with new lights etc.
The one thing we have felt is that our youngest son deserved a brand new bike for his 6th birthday. Not a hand me down. There are some things that just need to be new sometimes. So, we took him down to our local bike shop and he chose his very own bigger bike…WITH gears!
We also planned to collect it early, as we had my father-in-law over for a visit and wanted him to be part of the collection excitement too.
The very next day, we headed over to Thetford Forsest and had a super day climbing in the trees and then a lovely relaxed time cycling around the forest. Not only did he have to get use to 5 more gears than he had on his old bike, but brakes with his hands as his old bike had pedal brakes.
He did really well and a 5 mile ride on a brand new bike that was slightly on the big side was a walk in the park.
Cycling. Riding bikes is another way of putting it along with freedom, fun and testing things out, especially for children.
Can I balance?
How about peddling and balancing?
Is this the front brake or back brake?
How fast can I go and when do I start braking so that I stop in time?
How fast can I go before I catch a speed wobble?
Can I self correct and get out of the wobble?
How fast do I need to go so that when I brake, I form a skid mark?
What happens when I brake (or turn!) on stones?
We forget as adults sometime, how we learnt to do things but the boys often remind us of how it must have been. There has to be a starting point and once you have mastered the beginning, the rest sort of fits into place and naturally seems to happen.
One of the best parts of living out in the countryside, is that the boys can generally be free to enjoy testing things out with their bikes. Occasionally, they have to watch out for farm vehicles or large equipment and horses in some cases, but most of the time they can acquire new skills.
Whilst they learn how to do new stuff with either their bodies or bikes, I on the other hand am also learning to do the same and masking my sudden gasps with a cough or turning my body a bit so that they can’t see the concern. Just the other day, our eldest son was trying to ride with no hands. I can VERY clearly remember as a child cycling home from school, riding with no hands at great speeds down a hill that had a corner and cars. My mom would have had a fit if she had known this! The wind blowing on my face and the freedom of not knowing what could have happened should I have hit a stone…pah!
So, armed with that memory, when asked ‘Do you think I can ride with no hands?’, I encouraged but also sort of didn’t completely look and by george he did it! ‘Mom!! I did it!’ was the shout of pride I heard – for a second or two but he still did it