There are several milestones in children’s lives that parents really hold dear.
At school age, learning to read, to swim and to ride a bike are just a few.
So, this weekend I was proud as punch when my daughter, Ruby, finally managed to ride her bike.
Despite buying her a bike when she turned six last July, until just now – despite much perseverance on our part – she has never been that fussed about riding it.
But miraculously this Sunday – whether it was the fact she has just turned seven and now feels more confident, or that she has heard so much about the Tour de France – she was determined to crack it.
Still rather wobbly I rode alongside her on my bike up and down the quiet cul-de-sac that abuts our housing estate on Highmoor Park, Clitheroe. It’s an ideal location until her confidence grows and my nerves subside.
However, driving through Clitheroe and along the country roads to Stonyhurst College at Hurst Green on Sunday evening I started to think what happens now?
What roads/areas are suitable for Ruby to ride on without any fear?
When I racked my brain, the only option that I could think of were the pathways of Clitheroe Castle or any similar local parkland. Or maybe a quiet country lane such as Four Lane Ends off Pendle Road, Clitheroe.
But again, it’s getting there. The roads are so busy leading to these locations, that the only option is to either drive there and put the bikes in the car – if your car is big enough or has a cycle rack that is – or to ride on the pavements if possible. How frustrating.
Wouldn’t it be great if once a week, possibly on a quiet Sunday, the local council closed a couple of roads, or maybe a car park in the town, so that families could enjoy cycling with their young children out of harm’s way.
I would love to hear the views of other parents or those with more cycling knowledge than myself.
Some readers are probably thinking: we live in the Ribble Valley, a beautiful rural part of the country, just cycle on the country lanes.
And, in fact, on my way to Stonyhurst I did see who I presume was a dad and his young son – probably the same age as Ruby – cycling along the back road to Mitton. Good for them if they feel comfortable and safe, but I’ve seen how fast cars travel along those roads and I’d be nervous cycling and at the same time watching Ruby.
An alternative option would be wonderful.