I’ve written so many times about N’s love of cycling and his bike, but recently that interest in cycling was brought alive by a last minute email from our neighbour about the Women’s Tour of Britain race.
I’m usually quite up on what’s going on in and around our area, and book in visits and events in the calendar well in advance. But sporting events seem to pass me by. Being in a lovely rural area, complete with lots of hills and rural roads, we have a lot of local cyclists riding round the potholes at any time of day. But my neighbour sent an email around to several parents at school saying the 2nd stage of the women’s tour was coming through the next village and right up by us the next day. She’d got permission from school to take her daughter out for the event for the time the pelaton would be cycling past.
The next day I checked with N if he wanted to see the women professional cycling race go past and he was jumping up with excitement. I was prepared to ask for permission at school (the timings worked well with my work lunchtime), but found a notice board up saying parents could take their children out for it. So lunchtime I was racing out of work and to the school to pick N up and drive him the 5 minutes down the road to the junction they’d be turning at.
Just the panic about making it in time, finding a suitable place to park at the side of the roads (not the easiest with our wildflower verges, farm gates and narrow roads), then walking back to the junction. I was glad we’d chosen the crossroads and not the next village which was totally blocked off to traffic. For a small rural area I was surprised at how many cars were stopped from 2 directions (many getting stoppy at being stopped for all of 15 minutes waiting for the bikes), it took us a long time to walk back to the car passed all the others trying to get through!
My neighbour and another school mum friend had their 3 girls further down the hill, but we had another school mum and her 2 girls stood with us along with quite a few cyclists who were following the race.
N was in awe of how many police motorbikes there were, each coming up the hill to replace the previous one. Most were chatty telling us about where the cyclists were and how long they’d be. N asked lots of questions, but then eventually the support bikes, judges, and medical vehicles started coming up the hill.
The pelaton was on the way.
It seemed like a fairly big race to me – it was a sprint stage – and I was amazed at how fast they were travelling around the corner of the crossroads. The cyclists do whizz by but there’s a great feeling of being there, cheering them on and being part of the community by the side of the road all watching together.
Then the support cars with all the spare bikes and wheels came round, and it was time to leave.
N was bouncing afterwards. Interestingly all the children who’d been taken to watch were girls – it’s great to inspire them into sport. But N enjoyed it just as much and not once did he ask where were the men or mentioned anything about them being girls. He was just excited to have experienced it.
Hopefully over the summer with the Olympics, Wimbledon and all the other sporting events, he’ll get further inspired by sport and what sport can bring.
Have you ever been out to watch the cycling or support other sporting events? Do your children get into big sports events.
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