Once I’d convinced my wife that it would be fine, “Look – it says in the instructions… this sling attachment is designed for before they can hold their own head up… Of course I’ll be careful… No I won’t go too fast (as if – have you tried towing a child trailer-full of well fed baby into a headwind?)… Yes, I know he’s only 5 weeks old… Yes, I know he’s not a toy…”, we set off. And, luckily, he loved it so much he went straight to sleep – something only ever achieved previously by a face full of breast.
Soon enough we were cruising through the lanes on our first family cycling outing, and at least two of us were obviously loving it. I’m sure all three of us were really, but Lisa is always cautious about showing an inch of cycling enjoyment for fear that I might take a mile at the next opportunity. Wise woman…
Meanwhile, I was doing my usual Ode to Everything on a sunny spring day in the Cotswolds, gushing lyrical about flora, fauna and why there might be world war II pill boxes in this quiet corner of Gloucestershire. Punctuated, of course, by annoyingly demanding pointing and exclamations, “Look! A hedge!” For his part, Baby Daniel was singing softly in his sleep, only the odd careless pothole jolt causing him to make pincer-like hand movements – eyes still tightly shut.
We stopped at a pub for lunch, locked up the bikes outside and wheeled the (admittedly very wide – it is a double though!) Chariot in with us – stroller wheels in place, and sleeping child undisturbed. Now that’s having your cake and eating some too.
Our first ride was an unmitigated success. Mum got to both do something outdoors with baby and put him down at the same time. Dad got to take his new family cycling. Perfect. A triumph considering what could have happened had the experience been a bad one. Tears and tantrums might have put family cycling on hold for years – but why would there be any? He loved it, just as everyone told us he would, for many of the same reasons that we love cycling too. Who says three’s a crowd!