Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cycling with the Children

Cycling with the Children was never meant to be our C date. I had originally planned to take my husband to the Comedy in the Country gig in aid of Help for Heroes. It would have been a really good night, I'm sure, but one of my babysitters had a rehearsal for a play she is in and the other was a little under the weather and up to her ears in A Level revision... so it just didn't happen.

However, the cycling thing turned out to be fantastic and as the children are a huge part of our life, it didn't seem too inappropriate to include them in a date (although I don't intent to do it too often!)

The date was part of weekend away. We drove to Brighton early Sunday morning to visit my husband's parents who made a lovely lunch for us which included a home made fresh raspberry trifle (I figured that with the cycling I'd be expending plenty of calories so having seconds was perfectly acceptable).

We were booked into a Premiere Inn for the night and headed off in the late afternoon to settle ourselves in. After so much trifle, I didn't really want to go out for a meal so we bought Crusty bread and Cheese from a local Co-op, putting us very much into 'C' date mode.

The children didn't settle down to sleep very easily with all the excitement of being in a strange place so it wasn't exactly a romantic evening, but we watched some bad TV and all snuggled in bed together which was lovely.

The following morning after a breakfast of Croissants, we set off for our Cycling adventure.

We parked in the Seven Sisters Country Park and I got a map of the cycle routes from the Cuckmere Cycle shop while my husband got the bikes ready. 

We could have taken an easy route down to the beach to see the Seven Sisters or a nice circular way marked route suitable for families through Friston Forest but my ambitious husband had other plans. We were going to cycle to nearby Jevington via cycle tracks ranging in difficulty from easy to 'medium' to rendezvous with his parents at a pre-arranged time for lunch in a Country pub. (I later found out that the Hungry Monk in Jevington was the birthplace of Banoffee Pie but given the trifle incident the day previously, it was probably just as well that this wasn't the country pub we had a table booked for!)

Bearing in mind this was the first time we had done any real cycling with the baby boy, the three year old had yet to try her Tag Along Trailer Bike with its newly fitted safety back rest and I probably haven't even sat on my bike for two years - it was a case of anything could happen.

The boy couldn't wait to get started...

I was 'doing One good thing' with my One water...

...and we were off!

Credit where credit is due - my husband's map reading skills did keep us on track (after a couple of false starts trying to navigate out of the car park!) and we reached Jevington almost exactly on time. Unfortunately, the contour lines that looked fairly harmless on the map were punishing on under used thigh muscles. We had to get off our bikes and push up a couple of the steeper hills but we made it. 

What I failed to appreciate was that all the ascending was setting us up for a serious descent into Jevington village. This was a 'medium' difficulty route. One day I will have to try one of the extreme difficulty routes because for me this was a heart pounding mountain biking sort of experience! Quite how my husband managed to make it down the steep, bumpy, narrow track with the baby seat and the trailer bike I will never know, but he did. And so did I!

The pub lunch was lovely (and well earned!!) and the kids were delighted to see their grandma and grandpa.

Over lunch, we planned our return journey - a less direct but more sedate route! The baby boy was very relaxed about it all.

Despite a few aching muscles and some moments of white knuckle terror it really was a magical time and something I hope to do a lot more of.

Back where we began, a Cup of Coffee marked the end of our unforgettable C date.

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