Seth turned 3 recently and as our new house hasn't been maintained for 40 years with blocked drains, toilets, sinks, cracked plaster, peeling paint, peeling wallpaper, damp, dirt, and silent door bell... we didn't hear the postman come to deliver what I guess to be his present. A "I came to deliver but you were not in" slip was left in the new letterbox (the old one was bust) while I was busy renovating. Another slip was left to let me know that a replacement part for my wallpaper stripper had come from Germany over the bank holiday too. Armed with my two slips I set off to the central Post Office in town to pick up the goodies. I must remember to fix the doorbell... Again I sped past lines of people stuck in their cars and was in the centre in minutes. Having been a car muppet for years I am conditioned to believe that cars are faster. The message is sinking in. What is great about a bike is that you can just stop when you want and there is no parking hassle, on the way back I managed a coffee on a lovely square that took my fancy and had a chat with the café server who asked me about the Yuba Mundo, then I cut my way through the immobile traffic and was home in minutes. Impossible in a car.
There is a farm on the other side of town where you can take the kids and they can see animals in real life, play with dwarf goats, feed hens, get pulled around by horse and cart etc.
So we made our way across town and hooked up with the cylepath that heads out on the other side. We got to the farm only to find that it had closed down and they were selling all the animals... to say that the kids were gutted would be an understatement. Sign of the times ? Financial fall out hitting our little corner of the world ? We hadn't planned on this but as lunch was fast approaching we hit the cyclepath and carried on out of town. The idea was to go right to the end following the route of the old railway line that they had converted into the path that winds across the fields. 20 kms there and 20 km back.
The wind picked up, the sun went in, the path turned into the wind and it was murder for about 5 km before we stopped to drink some water and the kids played picking daisies. We made it to the end, in time to see them packing up the morning market, had a great meal of paella and some wine on a little square trying not to notice the kids jumping around like springs.
To be less antisocial we then headed for the park and slides so the monsters could bounce around in a dedicated space, hoping that the wind would drop thinking of the ride back, but of course it really picked up.
But the great thing about a headwind is that it becomes a tailwind on the way back and the sun came out ! The yuba with two kids on the back caught the wind nicely and in places I didn't even have to pedal... like a sail boat, stopped once for water and biscuits, and watched as a series of at least a dozen bikes made by Giant went by. All different vintages, shapes and sizes. Strange.
We must have been three time faster getting back, were mobbed by hundreds of orange butterflies, managed another parkstop and had fun making our way through town post Rugby match. The traffic was stuck, we just sped through, it was great. Could really feel the ride in my legs this evening, the wind was not fun on the way out.
After spending the morning running around the county ferrying Emma to her circus lesson in dad's car (to keep the battery charged) we managed better things out doors.
The summer sun is here... so hot it hurts the skin not used to it yet. A real shock after the crappy weather we have had since November. Yesterday was Wednesday and school was out so we hopped on the Yuba and rode four traffic free blocks to the park with the kiddy rides by the river. It was so hot we sat under the trees and kicked a football, drinking lots of water.
Mum got out early so after dance lessons and icecream in the village park, we headed for the seaside which was alot cooler. The girls didn't even try a real swim which is unusual.
Emma wanted a Kebab (yes, yes) so we headed for our local and Seth was over the moon because they had a flat screen and the Chelsea vs Barcelona match was on.
Had an intresting phone call, but can't let on yet. Shall see.
Spent the day sanding window frames Monday, so when the time came to do the school run I thought I would try it using the Yuba as I was sick of being stuck inside. Since we moved 8 km away three weeks ago, to the big smoke, the school circuit back to the old village takes about 15-20 minutes by car from the new house, or longer if you count the time it takes to park up at the two different school sites. It took 25 mins to get to the first school on the Yuba and it is great to be able to wheel up to the classroom door directly without having to find a parking space and walk. It probably takes about the same time on the Yuba, its probably safer being off the road (witnessed a crash again today), and its probably better for my waistline. Alot of stay home mums take their car to do the half a mile from their houses on the other side of the village to take and pick their kids up every day, so parking space is at a premium. This in a place where we have over 300 days of sun a year... nuts... and I'm not sure what the "rural" mind set of the village thought of our 2 wheeled green monster and 3 singing kids on the back but I don't really care anyway. What was nice was shooting past on the cyclepath by all the people sitting in their cars on the 15 minute traffic jam that happens when everyone picks up their kids and/or leaves work at about 5.15, I think I got home faster !
This is the final approach along the river towards our new hood. Flood grassland and a dirt track that leads to the end of our road. Flowers and butterflies etc. Very nice. If you head back the otherway you get to the sea in about 15 km of stand alone cycle path shaded by london plane trees. Of course it was sunny with no wind when I set out in shorts and a T, but on the way back the sun went in and the wind picked up over the last 4 km pushing me down into 1st gear and about 7km/h... Took 35 minutes on the return journey, no big deal though. Thats about 60 km in two days with 3 kids plus their stuff on the Yuba. I could feel it in the legs a little this morning. But great, I am going to feel like a rocket next time I go out on my mountain bike !
You can load and load and as long as there are no slopes or strong wind its all good. The picnic box has been unloaded here.
The sun was out Sunday so we hit the cyclepaths, had a picnic in a park, did a car boot sale and made it to the beach for 3 o'clock icecream.
Then all the way home for a BBQ.
40 to 50 Km all by pedal power on the Yuba. Left at 10 am and got back in at 6 pm. Cool day, lots of sun. Managed to bungee rope the front wheel of Emma's kiddy bike to the back of the Yuba which lets her hop on the back of the Yuba when she is tired of pedaling her bike. She sits with Lucie and sings or chats as the villages go by. This makes us about 8 foot long with up to 4 people onboard, quite the freak show and draws lots of comments usually encouraging ! Still surprisingly easy to pedal. I am starting to think of the first upgrade though, namely the gears which although entirely functional are not as good obviously as the luxury items I am used to.
Took a gas bottle to the filling station too. I also wondered what a titanium or aluminium framed Yuba would be like...