My Son Tom and I are pretty lucky to have spent a lot of time over the last few years having some great adventures together. We usually travel by bike, and as the years have passed, the rides have got progressively longer and harder.
Tom completes the coast-2-coast aged 7
I want to take you back to Tom’s first proper ride. The one that planted the seed.
Tom had been riding a bike without stablisers for about a year. He didn’t have a fancy bike, instead he rode a hand me down from a friend. Tom’s bike handling skills were poor, so an off road route was a must.
We drove out to Dowlow at the Northern end of the Tissington trail on a lovely warm summers day. There was no plan as to how far we would ride. The trail though had a number of “goals” in the form of cafes, pubs and ice cream shops. Our first stop was after only 3 ½ miles.
Cake at Parsley Hay visitor centre maybe wasn’t a necessity, but was quickly consumed before we continued our journey South.
I carried a couple of bottles of water, and jelly babies to supplement the wayside offerings.
At Tissington 13 ½ miles in we had ice cream as well as some other snacks. Spirits were high. I offered the option of turning round and returning back to the car. The alternative being another 4 miles to the end of the trail at Ashbourne where we could get a proper meal at a cafe. Tom wanted to ride to the end.
Cake, sweets, ice cream and at Ashbourne an adult sized portion of beans on toast. Basically Tom got to eat whatever he liked on his first big bike ride. A tradition that has continued to this day. Though these days he’s partial to a nice steak at the end of a long day on the bike.
So we’d ridden all the way to Ashbourne, all that was needed was to reverse our ride back to the car.
The trail is slightly uphill heading North and over the next few hours I needed to help Tom by giving him a push every now and then. We stopped regularly for snacks and drinks on the way back.
I think it took around 8 hours to ride 35 miles that day. A long day for us all.
35 miles aged 5 that inspired him to ride another 16,000 miles before he turned 13.