three peaks (1 of 1)

Dad, can you use drop handle bars in a mountain bike race?

No love.

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.


4 replies »

  1. Absolutely, well said. My 9 yr old consistently states she wants to be an Olympic athelete/runner. Advice for her at her stage in life from a Gold-medalling Olympian friend of ours? ‘Do sport, as many different ones as you can, and have fun. That’s it’.

    She trains, she races (and wins) but only how and when she wants to and only so it’s fun. It scares me watching pushy parents in some sports, particularly cycling. She, not me, pushes herself and has done to a high level on occasion. My goal? For her to still be running, cycling, whatever, when she is 18 and able to pursue sport on her own terms in her own time.

    • Couldn’t agree more Alan and glad to hear that your 9 old is the same! Sport to me is simply a hobby, a pastime, and expression of who I am and the thing that keeps me – reasonably – healthy. Thankfully most of the parents at the Welsh Cyclo-cross league are pretty balanced, but there are one or two who shout from the rooftops. As long as your child is fit, healthy and happy, nothing, but nothing is more important.

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