Dad, can you use drop handle bars in a mountain bike race?
So if we put drop handlebars on my cyclo-cross bike, we’ll have to get a mountain bike for mountain bike races?
Hmmmmm. Nice try.
Dad, can you do the 3 peaks if you’re 9?
No, I think the age limit is 18.
This was today’s breakfast conversation. I didn’t precipitate it. Honest. As a rule, I don’t sit at the breakfast table and harp on about cycling. This was a line of questioning that had clearly been rattling around Evelyn’s 7 year old mind for a little while. I like it though, the lass has ambitions. The first is to get her cross bike equipped with some drop handles – against her Dad’s advice* – the second is to follow her Dad in the three peaks. For me the two amusing things about this conversation – apart from the clear interest in my activities – is that in Evelyn’s mind, there must be some size/weight/power threshold that’s met at age 9 and her reasoning has suggested that if drop handled bars are used in the 3 peaks you should be able to use them pretty much anywhere**.
Now I like ambition. It means working towards a long term goal and hitting some short term milestones. With the amount of distractions in kids’ lives these days, a nice healthy outdoor ambition is one to welcome. In 11 years time, It’ll be interesting to see if Evelyn is lining up alongside me on the start line, on what could feasibly be my 20th three peaks (not withstanding successive successful entries and careful injury avoidance). If she’s not, I really won’t mind as long as she’s fit, healthy, active and employing some of that road side sense that I’m constantly reinforcing. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep quietly encouraging application, hard-work and above all the sheer of enjoyment of riding a bike; ‘cos no matter how important that racing is to me, nothing, but nothing should trump having fun on two wheels.
*Drop handle bars are absolutely fine after some essential skills are mastered and once kids are big enough to stretch to them.
** Almost anywhere. Try riding Morzine with them.