Article Rediscovering Home

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Rediscovering Home - Rob & Georgina

I remember my first real bike. I must have been about 8 years old and there was some incredible excitement ahead for me. I had asked Santa for a bike and after what seemed like eons the big day finally arrived. It was an Emmelle 6 geared bike that I'd hand picked in the local bike shop a few weeks before. I loved that bike. I remember hauling it up the stairs most nights and placing it in my bedroom so I could look at it as I fell asleep. To me, it was a magnificent machine. As an 8 year old boy I was free. I had wheels. I could join the other kids on the block and start discovering the wider world. Cycling gave freedom. Freedom to go and explore. Freedom to travel. There was nothing like being able to jump on a bike and see where the day took me and my gang of mates.


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Twenty-nine and a half year later, I (aged 37 1/2) and Georgina (aged 8) took off and rode like I did all those years ago. No, no big epic day out planned. No technology used to plan out or map our ride. Nothing at all. I didn't even put on cycling shorts (turns out skinny jeans actually are quite comfortable to cycle in!). Instead, we filled a backpack with some picnic stuff, grabbed our bikes and headed in the direction of a cycle path that I'd seen somewhere in the past.


Our goal was just to ride somewhere. Who cares where, but somewhere around our local area to discover a bit more about where we live. We've been in the same area for 9 years but our regular destinations are as follows. Supermarket. Cinema. Shopping Mall. If we do go out on bikes, its a either a planned route that we've done regularly for the past 9 years or its a 'proper' ride where we go to a trail centre.



We started riding, Georgina on her Cube that I'd built up for her (customised 80mm RockShox, SRAM 1x11, she doesn't know how good she's got it!) and I took out the Turbo Levo. Not that I needed any assistance, but I wanted to just jump on a bike and ride it and this was the bike that was ready to go. What was amazing was how much there is around where I live that I had no idea even existed. We passed two large lakes, cycled through some boggy marsh land next to a river, walked over a railway level crossing (a first for Georgina) and then hit a small village that I'd never been to.


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We then found ourselves a bit lost. I almost got out the iPhone to open up the Maps but cycling towards us was a fellow rider. He slowed to say hello and I asked him if there were any decent routes that we should head towards. "Past the pub, turn right and you'll hit the canal tow path." The tow bath was beautiful. Spring had also arrived, the air was 15 degrees and I had that sense of nostalgia. Discovering somewhere for the first time again, on two wheels, with a friend.


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After a few miles we found a big park with a few football fields, a cafe and a kids play park. We chilled here, got out our peanut butter sandwiches and snacks and checked out all the mud that was all over our bikes. Georgina went to play at the park whilst I watched over the bikes. Lots of interest again in the EMTB but this time I kept a distance so I had no need to answer any questions from onlookers.



30 minutes later and we were ready to ride. The canal path was so good for Georgina. Flat, smooth, easy. Loads of nature and wildlife to look at and see. Ducks, swans, geese, squirrels. Boats. History. It was lovely cycling along side some working boats, under the bridges and discovering our local area.


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The tow-path started to get busy with families, dog walkers, cyclists and bored teenagers. We'd covered about 9 miles and then Georgina said the question that I'd been waiting for for a little while: "Can we go home now?". I was impressed that she'd made it this far. Not because of the fact that she's tired, but she gets bored quite quickly. There was no technology on this ride (well, other than a cutting edge EMTB!). No iPad, iPhone, YouTube or Fortnite.


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That's part of the thing about cycling that appeals to me. Getting outside. Forgetting emails, social networks, technology and the internet. Forgetting work, de-stressing and having a mini adventure.



We had heard a train go past during the ride by so worked out that there was a possibility that we had a station nearby. As luck would have it I could see a station sign in the distance, so we pointed our bikes in that direction and cycled along the road until we reached the platform. Only 19 minutes until the next train that would take us within a mile of our house. Excellent.

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The three carriage GWR train arrived and Georgina and I hauled our bikes onto the section that allowed bikes. We laughed about how muddy we both were and that our bikes were blocking up all of the carriage. The XL Levo is a bit of a lump to fit into a micro-sized train bike storage section, on a train that clearly the designers had never thought about chunky E-Bikes ever thinking of entering.


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On the journey back I couldn't help think that sometimes I over think getting out on my bike. I prepare so many things. My bike is dialled. Tyre pressure, check. Route navigation, check. Correct clothing, check. Correct grade sunglasses lenses for the weather, check. Today reminded me that none of that has to matter. Sometimes its great to just get outside. Go and explore. Get lost. Feel like you're 8 years old again.

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We finally got home, a few hours after our ride started. Although this was no all day epic it was excellent to spend time on a wonderful spring day just acting with spontaneity. Taking wherever the road takes us. Exploring and discovering something new, with my daughter. That makes me smile.
 
Last edited:
Rob Hancill

Comments

Tetsugaku

Active member
Founding Member
Mar 4, 2018
131
44
38
Brighton uk
#2
This is so, so great to read. My daughter is 7.5 and she got a Isla bike for her 6th birthday but didn’t really get into it until she was 7. My recent purchase of the Levo has made me much more enthusiastic about going out as a family together, all on bikes.

I am about to finalise a divorce that has taken 12 months to happen and I’m putting more and more effort into making the time with my kids (my son is 5.5) more fulfilling and connected for all of us. Riding out together sounds perfect if it’s anything like this :)

I bought a cheap old ford S-max that we can go camping in. Enough space to put 3 bikes on the back, I’m hoping to go camping every other weekend, with the bikes and have times like this as much as we can
 

Kendoji

Active member
Mar 8, 2018
32
39
28
Amsterdam
#3
Great read! Bicycles were also a magical presence in my life since my very first BMX bike when I was 7 or 8. I can still vividly remember the feeling of freedom and adventure as I ventured out and explored my local area. Decades later and that feeling has never really gone away - I’ve been obsessed with two-wheel vehicles ever since, having never wanted a car driving license and instead living my life on my mountain bike, e-mountain bike, speed pedelec, motorbike and assortment of ‘regular bikes’.
 

Rob Hancill

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 14, 2018
1,873
1,571
363
Surrey, UK
Ride
Levo Expert
#4
This is so, so great to read. My daughter is 7.5 and she got a Isla bike for her 6th birthday but didn’t really get into it until she was 7. My recent purchase of the Levo has made me much more enthusiastic about going out as a family together, all on bikes.

I am about to finalise a divorce that has taken 12 months to happen and I’m putting more and more effort into making the time with my kids (my son is 5.5) more fulfilling and connected for all of us. Riding out together sounds perfect if it’s anything like this :)

I bought a cheap old ford S-max that we can go camping in. Enough space to put 3 bikes on the back, I’m hoping to go camping every other weekend, with the bikes and have times like this as much as we can
Thank you! Sorry to hear about the divorce. I’ve been through it myself and its a tough time for everyone (had 2 kids at the time). There’s so much that you can do with bikes, a car and a tent. You’ll be able to have some awesome times together :)
 
Apr 9, 2018
16
3
3
South West London
#5
I've done the local pootle with my daughter (17yo) recently and the first time we did it was when she was 6 or 7 riding her plastic wheel barbie bike (shame on me for letting that happen) along the thames. Always special to spend some contemplative time with children. Looks like you live somewhere with great easy riding potential.

And It's true you never know anywhere like you know it on a bike. I am lucky that I have a manageable distance to commute on the bike and although I've got no extra time to wander and it's not always pleasant, and it's great to learn the nooks and cranies of a great town like London. Around my house I've found decent routes to ride to the nicer local parks and the thames riverside.
 



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