What better way to spend the Bank Holiday afternoon than razzing around Mallory Park race circuit with the kids?
The attraction of traffic free cycling for my girls and their cousins was too good to miss, so we loaded up the bikes and headed off to a special family session put on by Cycling Mallory. The girls travelled by car while myself and my newly converted brother -in-law took a scenic route on our bikes through a blustery Leicestershire countryside.
As always, the smooth circuit is a real treat to cycle on, and with the guidance of “going steady” we rolled down the hill towards the start and finish straight. My eldest has just mastered how to change gear while moving on her outstanding Frog bike and it was great to see how exhilarating she found the high speed descent (we forgot about “going steady”).
Just as predictable as the smooth circuit is the wind as you turn around Gerards Bend. As we turned in to the wind, my nephew asked how there can be another Gerard because there is “only one Steven Gerrard” but soon finished with the questions when he was puffing and panting in to the wind. Both the 7 year olds found it a slog around the bend but soon picked up each time we hit Stebbe Straight.
The first time round we cut out the hill going up to Shaws hairpin bend, making the circuit in to an oval shape. Pretty quickly we caught up my wife and my youngest who were on their first lap and chatting away about the things they could see on the lake in the middle of the track. The downhill start had been a bit intimidating for my 4 year old who has been cycling her bike for a couple of months so they’d walked down before starting. But the thought of bombing down the hill again was too good to resist so the older cousins both headed up to the hairpin at the end of their next lap so that they could race down from the Bus Stop to Devils Corner and along the Kirkby Straight.
All in all, the older ones did 5 or 6 laps each, my youngest did a couple of laps and her other cousin who is 5 did 3 or 4 laps at a good pace. Plenty of families turned up with budding young Froomes and Contadors, whilst others were there to enjoy a safe environment for their kids to ride until their legs ached.
We certainly got our monies worth around the 1.2 mile track – it was £5 per adult and one child – and all our little ones (and some of the big ones) could feel that satisfying ache in their legs as we loaded the bikes in to the cars and headed home for pulled pork cobs!
(P.S. I happened to get a 3rd place in the KOM along Burbage Common Road on the way home so I was well happy too)