This entry was posted on Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 11:41 am and is filed under Kids cycling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Today, my son Josh is 11. He’s wanted to complete his first century for a while but life has conspired against us. Yesterday was the last chance. We took it, despite the likelihood of atrocious weather.
We rode from Newcastle to Berwick, taking sideroads and Sustrans National Cycle Network signposted routes which detour like crazy. Normally such detours would bug me but yesterday it was fine to zig zag because we had to rack up the miles. Newcastle to Berwick is about 60 miles on the A1.
As it happened, we had to do one mile on the A1. In the wet, in the dark, with just LEDs to keep us safe from thundering juggernauts on what is the main road from London to Edinburgh. That one mile was the worst of the whole hundred. Despite a detour that made the day’s ride into a 106 mile effort, we were glad to get away from the scariest traffic conditions I’ve ever ridden in.
After the speedy train journey back to Newcastle, Josh was fine to ride home in the pouring rain, although he never actually sat on his saddle for the two mile ride. Today he’s ridden to school, tender, but otherwise fit and eager to enjoy his birthday.
This particularly 11 year old wants to start using a Twitter account. He was blown away by the encouragement he got on yesterday’s ride. I was Twittering our progress via an iPhone and told Josh the replies as they were coming in. He was always going to finish this ride but the instant feedback, and the best wishes from around the world, gave him an inner warmth on a day that was freezing cold and very wet at times.
There’s a selection of Twitter comments below the photographs. First, I’d like to give shout-outs to three particular items of kit which helped us yesterday.
The SatMap GPS device allowed me to plot our route on the fly, taking the optimum route when there were no Sustrans signposts to follow. Where it really came into its own was during the final twenty miles, done in the dark. The OS mapping on a backlit screen enabled me to plot a complex, off-highway route as we cycled along, in conditions which would have shredded a paper map and which would have meant constant stopping.
Josh was riding a Kona Jake 24. This is a cyclo cross bike but I’d fitted it with Schwalbe Stelvio tyres and that transformed it into the perfect kid’s road bike.
The other vital piece of kit - apart from the overshoes, and balaclavas, wet weather gear and hand-warmer sachets - was Josh’s shoes. He already has a pair of Answer MTB shoes but they are now too small for him, and this was preventing us going for the ton. Thanks to Denny for sending a larger pair from Answer HQ in the US. This enabled us to do the ride.
A ride that Josh will remember for ever. It’s likely few people will believe he did a ride of 100+ miles when he was ten. Even in great weather conditions and long daylight hours this would be a tough ask for any nipper. That he did it in yesterday’s conditions was simply amazing. I’m very proud of my boy. And despite the epic nature of the ride, at the end , he asked when we were doing another.
@SMLP 100 miles at 10. We’ll done Josh! I’m 30 and I don’t think I have ever done the ton!
@FredCast Congratulations to Mr. Josh Reid!
@rosiedrums You guys Rock!!
@mike868y Wow! That kid’s nuts, lol. I’m 16 and an avid cyclist and not sure if I could manage a century.
@velotips Well done to both of you, no need for the words ’sleep well’ tonight! v. impressed, puts me to shame! I wimped out today.
@corpfincafe Congrats to Josh. That’s huge bragging rights, especially in less than desirable conditions. Well done.
@KarlOnSea You did the full century then?! Fantastic result.
@bikechik Amazing! Wondering how Josh will be at 18!
@graemeshaw On the bright side you can only get wet once! Hope the weather clears up for you and you both enjoy it.
@readytoride Power the porrige, dudes!
@steverumsby Good luck guys.
@MCMLXXXV Good luck!