29th April 2016
Brissie to the Bay (BrissietotheBay) is a charity bike ride. It is for anyone and it is over various distances. And I have signed up. In fact, I’ve signed up the family: Grumpster, Herbert and myself. Hooray!
The Grumpster is on board with the idea. Herbert is in flat denial.
As you might have noticed from recent posts, I’m now a triathlete. At least on paper.
But have I actually been outside and ridden a bike?
Well, no. Not really. Actually, once. I rode outdoors once.
I don’t know if you know this, but when you get outdoors on a bike, you have to do balancing, braking AND steering all at the same time. And a bit like swimming, I can only do 2 out of 3 at any one point. It makes for awkward encounters of a 2 wheeled kind…
And there’s the minor issue of bike ownership. Like, I don’t own one.
(Well, technically, I do. But it’s too heavy and hard to ride, so we’re just going to gloss over the actual fact of the matter).
I don’t own a bike.
I rode Herbert’s bike when I did venture outdoors. Once. And now it is his “get out of `BrissietotheBay’ free” card. We can’t both ride the same bike. It isn’t a tandem.
Masterplan: I have the option to borrow one. Hah!, Herbert!
I signed up to force myself to do some cycling outdoors. And I took Meredith Swim Bike Mom’s advice to involve the family in the pursuit of triathlon. (I should choose the advice I take more carefully, but I’ll explain why below).
There were 4 distances to choose from: 10km, 25km, 50km and 100km.
100km seems like something the keen cyclist types would go for. The ones you see whizzing fearless and determined round the city in their cycling strips. The types who look like they wouldn’t be friendly if I had a I CAN’T DO BRAKING AND STEERING AND BALANCING ALL AT ONCE wobble near them.
10km wouldn’t persuade me to train. It might not persuade me to turn up on the day.
25km is a distance I know I could cycle. When I was a team triathlete for a day last year, I cycled 20km with no prior training.
So, I put us down for 50km.
The Grumpster is fairly confident he can just bust out 50km without worrying too much. (He knocked out some massive hill session on the stationary bike at the gym in about half the time it would take me). Herbert would also probably manage. That kid rode a hire bike all the way round Lake Annecy when he was maybe 8 and I couldn’t keep up with him.
I’m not so confident.
As it’s a family affair, I’d really like Oscar to do it – a ginger version of this cat. (Click the link – seriously, it’s too cute not to).
Gracie would possibly participate if she could be driven along in one of those bikes with a big bucket at the front. And Dexter would want to be near, so this would work for him too.
Oscar would never agree to it, though. I saw this picture of a cat in a sidecar. If I wanted Lord Oscarmort to get in, he’d insist that he had to drive the motorbike and make me sit in the sidecar.
I’m not sure which would be worse: being driven by Oscar or cycling behind Grumpster.
The Grumpster has now embraced the idea of cycling. (In fact, I think he’s harbouring secret thoughts of triathloning. He mentioned getting swimming lessons…) WHAT HAVE I DONE???
Anyway, embracing cycling means we had to go shopping at the weekend. By bike. And it transpires the Grumpster believes that I, along with any other road user, telepathically knows precisely where he is planning to go next.
So there’s obviously no need to give a hand signal.
Even before turning right.
And as he’s not really bothering with hand signals and because he’s using the power of telepathy, there’s clearly no need for him to check the status of his convoy. So whilst he can get across safely, I’m left stranded.
And of course, I’m riding the only decent bike we own (Herbert’s), which I could make go way faster, but out of consideration, I’m keeping pace. Apart from going down hill. (He has no fear and plenty of
paunch momentum, whilst I’m a complete coward and go down slower than your average immensely slow thing).
However, the favour is not returned. He owns the boy version of the bike I don’t own. Every time he tried to change gear going up hill, his chain fell off.
Every. Single. Time.
I kid you not.
I would stop, pull in behind, wait whilst he fiddled with the chain to get it rehooked, only to find that he immediately launched himself back into traffic, (using telepathy to announce his intentions), whilst I’m left stranded halfway up a hill.
And by the time I can safely get back on my bike without wobbling in front of an on-coming car, he’s a dot on the horizon.
And worse, when I catch him back up, I get a “where did you get to?”.
At which point, I decided to unleash the superiority of the bike I’m on and cycle off in a huff…
So if this is how we go on a 10km ride via the shops, heaven help us over the course of 50km.
I think the saving grace will be that we’re amongst other riders, so when he cycles off and becomes a dot on the horizon, I’ll be happily unable to identify him, and find someone else to chat to 😉
So here’s the thing. Brissie to the Bay is about raising money for MS sufferers. (Not marital harmony, as it happens). It’s a hideous thing, and it affects lovely people. And 50km is not the biggest deal going. (A friend from school, who has developed MS, is doing an epic bike ride with a team across the Western Cape in South Africa RIGHT NOW, which is a much bigger deal). If you’re in the UK, they are raising money for HelpforHeroes. You can find out more and you can sponsor them here. And follow their progress on Instagram under the hashtag #bloodsweatandgears
If you want to donate money to a great cause in Australia, you can sponsor the Eaton Family Cyclists by following this link. The great thing is that the money goes straight to helping people with MS and I can’t divert the funds towards paying for marriage guidance counselling after the 19th June… No matter how much we need it!