School’s out for my teenage son, who’s finished his scary exams and plans to spend the next six weeks on his bike. His new obsession has coincided neatly with the Tour de France so when he’s not on the road, he’s glued to Bradley Wiggins on the TV.
Every morning he appears in the kitchen, clad in his Lycra cycling gear. He fills a couple of water bottles, stuffs some flapjacks in his pockets, grabs his helmet and cycling shoes and then he’s off. If I’m lucky he’ll give me a vague idea of where he’s going and how many miles he’s planning but that’s about it.
The truth is that I’m a bit torn about his new hobby. It’s fantastic that he’s out in the fresh air every day getting tons of exercise. But he got cut up by a car in Oxford the other day (he clocked the driver’s idiocy so managed to duck out of her way at the last minute) and being a natural born worrier, I can’t help fretting.
Mind you, another plus is that he’s getting to know the countryside like the back of his hand. He hasn’t got a swanky GPS or data roaming on his phone so he tries to memorise his routes before he sets off. But his memory occasionally lets him down. Cue a phone call on Sunday afternoon saying “can you look at the map for me? I think I’ve gone the wrong way. I’m just the other side of High Wycombe.”
PS. When you’re taking the scenic route rather than the motorway, High Wycombe is a good 35 miles from Oxford…