We did the Sky Ride and got a free rubber duck!!

Being a member of British Cycling brings plenty of benefits but in a recent email I received was the most useful thing yet.  It was a reminder to get involved in the local Sky Rides that happen right across the country.  This weekend there was a ride in Leicester and I took the family in to town to see what it is all about.

After a short train journey we were soon sporting fluorescent yellow bibs and joining thousands of other families to enjoy a 6k, traffic free route that took us right around Leicester city centre.

I can’t talk highly enough about the event and have told everyone I’ve spoken to about how good it was.  6k is a perfect distance for my eldest daughter to ride and with several stops along the route we were never far from a little break or some entertainment.  Most of the stops included the opportunity to do something else cycling related.  Team Sky had an exhibition stand where people were testing their strength on some Watt Bikes, and we had a family shot on the podium on front of an Arc de Triomphe backdrop.  Halfords was offering some free bike servicing and the Leicester Tigers were giving out goody bags (including RAF styled rubber ducks!!??) and taking pictures of families with the Premiership Trophy.

All this was combined with a carnival atmosphere that encouraged novice cyclists and families to get involved.  There were activities for kids of all ages so my eldest took part in a short bike handling course while the youngest scooted around on a balance bike.

There were a couple of points through the route where we got a little congested but the busiest part was also the highlight of the ride when we were able to cycle through the Curve theatre in the citys Cultural Quarter.  Aside from one or two over eager lycra clad speed freaks, the other cyclists demonstrated the type of courtesy and respect that you’d hope for when cycling with a 6 year old.

All in all, the Sky Ride is a great way to spend a few hours with the kids and there were plenty of things to help get people on their bikes a bit more.  The only thing that could make it any better now is if my girls get to see themselves riding their bikes on Sky as they are now expecting …..

I had my mojo, lost my mojo and then found it again!

My early season cycling activity was full of drive and enthusiasm, resulting in a great ride to Skegness and my first triathlon.

And then I lost my mojo!

OK, I could blame work for getting busy but where there’s a will there’s a way and I just lost the will to train.  Even the road races I’d entered didn’t spur me on and after a dismal half marathon I spent most of July off the bike and doing no exercise.

What causes these total attitude changes? I’ve read a few articles and not really uncovered the answer.  The “get your ass in gear, loser” approach doesn’t really float my boat. In the past I’ve entered events to artificially urge myself in to action, but have either not trained or not performed if my mojo was missing.

Even introducing the element of competition hasn’t worked in the past, although being just a little bit faster than my mates from time to time is a great feeling.

I reckon the keys to motivation lie in your values as a person. I’ve never been particularly vain and for years carrying my belly around was disappointing but not destabilising.  Now that I’m surrounded by a beautiful family of my own fitness is important but I’m not old enough to worry about keeping up with the kids in the way that you read on many other blogs.

What is important to me is to feel a sense of achievement or pride, and to share those achievements with my family.  I’m delighted that my eldest daughter is loving her bike at the moment, and am proud that my cycling provides a point of reference for her.   As her Dad, she’d look up to me about pretty much anything. But I want her to look up to me for things that I am proud of myself.

The London Marathon, Skegness, Paris and the triathlon are all things that I’ve been able to share with my family and I can share them with pride when I perform well.  I figure that the secret to finding and retaining my mojo is in remembering how good it feels to take part in a challenge and perform well in completing it. Remember the sense of pride when all my hard work pays off … as hard work invariably has the habit of doing.

Reading the articles that my Google search found all tell you to set goals, measure progress, do things for charity.  They may work for some people, but you can’t use other people’s motivation to push your own buttons.

So, even though it is one of the seven deadly sins (why?) a sense of pride is what will help me find and keep my mojo. I wonder what REALLY motivates other people?

How do you get kids balancing on balance bikes?

We’ve just come back from our amazing holiday in France.  Whilst we were there, the whole family enjoyed going for bike rides and our favourite is undoubtedly the one we did with a picnic to a grassy little spot under a tree on the side of the Loire.

At the moment, my youngest is still in the child seat shouting “faster, Daddy, faster” but my eldest is now super proficient on her 14 inch wheels.  During the holiday she has also mastered cycling out of the saddle, cycling with one hand and (crucially) she has a great sprinting face and fast elbows!  Anyone who missed Wiggos fast elbows in the Tour de Romandie last year can see the final sprint on You Tube

Anyway.  We’ve arrived back to Blighty and the little one has decided she wants to get cracking on her balance bike.   We’ve decided to opt out of stabilisers given the types of advice we’re read on places like Isla Bikes and discussion forums such as Bike Radar. But how do you get the little ones started on a balance bike?

Our first attempt has resulted in back ache for me and very little balancing for the little one!  Maybe it is just patience but if anyone reads this and has a bright idea I’d be happy to hear it!