Today we went for our first family bike ride. TW has signed up for the London-Brighton Bike Ride and her brother has kindly given her a Specialized on long-term loan. On Monday we visited Halfords for the first time ever and bought her lights and a helmet, and so we were christened.
Today I pumped up the tires on the bikes in preparation, and I looked at the chains, although I wouldn’t know the first thing to do with them, even if I could identify what was wrong with them. I took a test ride on my chosen bike, up and down the road, and tested the brakes. I was a little confused because there seemed to be a bit of give in the tires, but they were as hard as rock – then I realised that the bike had suspension, and that was providing the give that I was feeling. I wobbled a bit; I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike. But I made it up the road and back in one piece, and it’s all about the small wins.
I took the girls to Halfords to buy helmets for them, since we are planning to cycle to Lancing tomorrow, and now that I know where it is (Halfords, that is), and I’m almost on first-name terms with the staff, the world of cycles and their accessories holds no mystery for me. £65 later, all four of us, myself included, were kitted out with protective headgear.
Final touches were made to the bikes, and then we set out, down our road, through the alley to the Co-Op, across the train crossing and into Grand Avenue, when The Eldest calls out “Stop!”. It turns out her front tire was flat again, despite the fact that I had only pumped it up less than five minutes ago. A definite puncture. But, when there were five of us riding, the odds that something was going to go wrong was pretty high. We cycled to a friend’s house where TW asked them if they had a spare bike we could borrow, but unfortunately they didn’t, so my ride ended there. I walked home with The Eldest (TE)’s bike, and she took mine. TW cycled on with the three kids in tow, a little like a proud swan with her brood – at least that is the way I picture her.
I took the front wheel off TE’s bike in the front garden, and one of our friends and neighbours helped to extract the inner tube. I blew it up and could immediately see where the puncture was; it was on the join between the valve and the inner. Another neighbour and friend advised that it was a common spot for a puncture. He provided a puncture kit and applied the patch to the tire, as I looked on. At least I can say I learned something, even if I didn’t do the actual fixing myself. I checked the tire as I put the bike away tonight and the tire seemed still inflated, so I hope it is the same in the morning.
TW and the girls rode as far as Splashpoint, and they enjoyed it, so it seems that Lancing it is in the morning. Wish me luck and I hope there are no sprains or scratches to report…
TTFN.

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