For months we have been umming and ahhing about whether or not to get bikes. We had visions of weekly bike rides in the sun with both boys on the back having awesome family days. On the other hand we had visions of spending money on them and seeing them go to waste sat in the garage for weeks on end. Four years ago British Cycling and Sky teamed up to help bikes in need that have been rejected in a shed or garage.
They put together Sky Rides, free community bike rides that are open to people of all ages no matter what level of cycling you are at. The routes go through city centres and parks, along closed roads and cycle paths showcasing the city’s best sites. They are all across the UK and have lots of activities to make it a really nice family day out. As well as the activities going on at the event there is a chance to win prizes just for attending. From a cycling experience with Sir Chris Hoy to a Sky HD package. You don’t even need to own a bike as most venues offer bikes to hire so that you can take part (limited availability.)
Today Plymouth hosted the first Sky Ride of 2012 and we were invited to take part. We were a bit worried at first as Plymouth is extremely hilly and they mentioned that it was an 8.5km route. Luckily there is no official start or end point so you can join or leave whenever and wherever you want. With that knowledge we decided that we would probably cycle at a lesuirely pace and stop to
rest take in the views at regular intervals. We arrived at Plymouth Hoe at about 11am and met up with our Sky Ride representative who was extremely friendly and showed us where our hired bikes were waiting at the Plymouth Cycle Scene tent. They helped us get set up and lent Spikey a little helmet after ensuring that he was strapped in properly. Both boys were set up and ready to go!
We watched a bit of Andrei Burton’s display team performing on the Hoe before setting off down the course. The route went down through the Barbican and around the streets of Plymouth as well as through the Royal William Yard. We were reminded of Plymouth’s beauty when the sun is out and Spud was extremely excited by all the boats out on the water and in the harbour. I was a little worried about Spike for a while because he was being very quiet but after about 25 minutes he started singing and pointing out various things so I think he was just in awe of the whole thing!
The route was very good and we saw a lot of Plymouth on the way around. Considering how hilly Plymouth is we did a lot of down hill riding but not a lot of up hill as it tended to be quite staggered on the way back bar the very last part. We didn’t struggle with the distance which greatly surprised us as we are both so unfit but it was a lot of fun. The Hubby is still laughing at me because I did have to walk the last hill but in my defence I had Spike shaking his head vigorously and pulling on my bag so it was very hard to concentrate and push through to make it up a very steep hill! We have decided now that bikes and regular family rides are definitely on our “to do” list as it was massively enjoyed by every one of us. After completing the route we had a nice rest on the Hoe and then went for some lunch so it really was a lovely day.
We don’t have that many “family” days out because of the sheer cost of things but Sky Rides are totally free so there really is no excuse not to make the most of them!