Sunday, 14 June 2009


"It's a family affair, it's a family affair
It's a family affair, it's a family affair
One child grows up to be
Somebody that just loves to learn
And another child grows up to be
Somebody you'd just love to burn
Mom loves the both of them
You see it's in the blood
Both kids are good to Mom
"Blood's thicker than mud"It's a family affair, it's a family affair" *

After last nights 'incident' involving a fixie sprocket slash chain slash finger interface scenario ,I was'nt too keen on hammering the hills. I'd kinda been threatening the kids with a proper ride for the last few weeks as well ,so ,here we are.
After only a few minutes into the ride I'm thinking of throwing in the towel,something I dont tend to do very often ,but my finger is banging off on anything but the smoothest of terrain. I apply a tincture of positive mental attitude ,and press on,chasing the kids.
The kids in question are my 9 yr old twins ,Luke and Adam, who represent 50 % of my procreative output.
We've parked up at the usual spot on the Rivi barn road.As a warm-up I keep 'low' and head back towards Horwich on the lower path,towards the school. The boys are complaining about the bumpy path ,which does n't bode well ,as we're heading on up to the Boneshaker.
Even though they are not yet in double figures,they are veterans of MTBing and know the yin/yang element of it .However,up to now I have purposefully limited their rides to the less extreme end of the spectrum. They both have a fairly good crack at the climb ,but it is very bumpy. Progress is , OK ,but this is probably the longest climb they have ever done. We all make it up ,but with a few stops.
As soon as we hit the edge of the japanese gardens we head inside into the shade of the trees. The temperature is picking up.
more of the same through the gardens ,a bit stop start. Adam's climbing very well ,and lukes doing ok ,but as soon as he loses momentum ,he finds it difficult to set off again.
Their bikes are new Mongoose 24" Rockadiles ,and a a bit bigger than they've been used to. This is a trade off. Their old bikes were OK for blasting around on ,and at 18" (wheels ,not frame) could be chucked around ,and chuck them they did. They were singlespeeds ,also a compromise. Nothing to think about,just pedal ,no maintainance,etc ,but virtually impossible to ride up here.
The new bikes are heavier and more complicated ,but ,well ,there is no but ,they're taller now and need bigger bikes.
As well as adjusting to them physically ,they need to adjust mentally. Theyre not used to having the gears and so ,at the top of my voice ,as theyre ,like 50 metres apart ,but having the same problems ( it's a twin thing . I got over it very early on),I 'explain ' how if they make it easier and spinnyspin through the rough bits they'll be able to make better progress and maintain momentum.
So ,they do.
I'm going to fiddle around a bit with the setup on the bikes . The handlebars are too high and it's debateable if the suspension forks do anything at all at the boys weight. The bikes are good though. Not too heavy ,OK Shimano stuff,21 gears.

They did OK in the end. We got to the Pigeon Tower and then turned to the Pike ,which looks a bit daunting from the front. We scooched right past ,seats down a bit for the blast ,and turned through the gate to hit the Pike from behind.
Another tough one for the kids . Bit too bumpy in places,but mostly we keep to the smoother bits and not before long ,we're at the foot of the final climb to the Pike itself.
Adam goes first and has a really good go. He only goes and fluffs it at the tricky bit ,slipping a pedal ,but gets going again and nails it to the top. Luke follows behind and it's basically a carbon copy. The tricky bit catches him out too. I explain ,quieter this time , that that tricky bit has caught out many a good rider.
Fairly busy on top . We have a rest in the high sunshine ,a cool breeze just nice on our backs.
There are a few options for 'off the Pike',but seeing as how we've been to casualty more times than enough with these two, I choose the safest,to the right hand side of the drops ,on the grass. I go on ahead to take a pic ,and the boys follow. They make a fundamental error of both wanting to go first ,and so ,on one anothers wheel, it all nearly goes pear shaped when Luke decides it's a bit too steep and stops halfway down . Adam has nowhere to go ,and let's him know it. They sort themselves out,andboth fairly nail it. It's nothing tougher than they've done before ,it's just longer. They carry on past me and I follow them down to the gate,where we turn right to head back.

We drop into the gardens with a word of caution from dad,lots of walkers/dogs /horses out today ,and head for the caff.
The boys are in their element here ,going wahay too fast for my liking . I can just see how it can all so quickly just go wrong.Just like that. Teeth and stuff.But it doesnt. Keep yer weight back ,and all that .





We end up at the bottom of the Ice Cream Run,and I'd have got them ice creams ,but a)Luke's weird like that and doesnt like ice cream ,and b) they both want " CHIIIPS !"
So we go to the caff down the sneaky sheep house path. Chips and Earl Grey. Result.
I asked them what they liked best and they both said " The down bits .And the chips "

* Family Affair. Sly and the family stone.

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