21 August 2009

Bad Pizza and sharks

The kids nagged me all morning so that I would take them to a pizza restaurant a mile down the road for lunch, one of 70 in a national chain. Being weak and after three hours of mental assaults I gave in. We turned up on the Yuba and I parked up on the side of the restaurant near the terrace leaving the Yuba on its kickstand. A very rude server came up as I was doing this and told me not to throw my bike in the bushes. Good start, I nearly left there and then... cyclists are obviously freaks to this person, and one with three kids in tow obviously put her stress levels up.
Access to this fake Tuscan style villa is on a busy main road, stuck between car sales emporiums, a parking lot and a supermarket. It was not nice to access it on a bike. We were the first to arrive, we ordered our pasta and pizzas with the scowling server and I tried to relax. Gradually people started to park up and get out of their cars, some had driven only a few hundred yards from their workplace down the road. Then every single person who came to the terrace started to smoke, repeatedly. The fact that it is now illegal here to smoke in a public place, and that there were 3 children present didn't seem to bother anybody. The food was bad, there was about double the food needed, especially for the kids, and I spent my time calculating how fast we could get out of there. Then came the moment when I understood why the kids wanted to come to this nasty place and why they had been unusually well behaved. ( Appart from an incident when N°2 child came back from the toilets mid meal and said, no shouted - Boy, I am really constipated ! - I tried not to laugh. At this point I would have been pleased if they had started throwing food.) At the end of the meal they get a toy wrapped in 3 layors of plastic. They came for the toy, not the food.... the joys of marketing. The toys were cheap swimming goggles, so I suggested that we go test them at the beach, and we were out of there...

We were soon out of town and alone on the cyclepath that takes us the 15 clicks to the beach, we managed a park stop on route and were soon in the water. I found out that you can fit a 1.5 litre water bottle in the frame in front of the rear wheel and it won't fall out. A great find for hot days.

Also I like taking my bikes onto the beach where I can see them, the Yuba even loaded up with beach towels, toys etc rolls along nicely on its fat tires on fine sand. And when you put it down on the sand the side bars hold the chain and hub high off the sand so it all stays clean.

We had a cool wind with lots of waves this afternoon. Had great fun rolling in the waves all afternoon and left the beach at about six in the evening. I found the ride back with the three kids (65 Kg) on the back harder than usual, but there had been a head wind on the way out and I am not in my usual physical condition after a lazy holiday period.
Alot of people were in their cars going home too (looking hot and cramped), and this cycle path is not too far from the road so we had tens of people slow down on the road to look and point at us. It is not often you see 4 people on a bike after all. Its not often that you see a bike with 1 person on it either unfortunately... We must have been overtaken by about 3 bikes on the 15 km trip back, mostly kids who would probably been on motorbikes if they were old enough. Happily we got alot of smiles and thumbs up and looks of surprise from people who might think of doing the same thing as us. When I get stopped in town and chat to people I am often taken back by their surprise at the distances we travel on the Yuba. In most people's minds a bike is not a method of transport anymore.
When we got back there was a piece on national TV about 2 six foot Blue sharks that had been sighted a mile from where we had been paddling all afternoon ! Unheard of here... Anyway I doubt they would have come into 8 inches of water where we were.


  1. I do use bikes for transport, but am still impressed at 65 km each way for a day trip with kids in tow! You motivate me to get stronger, sir. Sounds like a good day-- well, the part after the gross pizza joint, anyway.

  2. Oh, no, I misread-- 65 is the weight of the kiddos, not the distance. Whew, that makes me feel better. :)

  3. Er yes, I'm just an average dad ! 55 km for a whole trip (on the flat with the wind behind me) is my max so far loaded with the Yuba. But that took some doing.... 30 to 35 in a day is more reasonable.