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City Centre Cycling
After weeks of excited anticipation, last Sunday saw the Sky Ride City event come to Manchester. The event is one of many big free bike rides organised in towns and cities across the country by Sky and British Cycling. The Manchester event was the biggest so far, with 21,000 people cycling on a 14.7km route around the city, on traffic free roads.
Unfortunately our family bike ride didn't quite turn out as planned. Despite having all of our bikes and bike seats with us, we didn't have the keys to unlock the bikes from the roof carrier. The one exception being Reuben's bike, which was in the boot of the car.
Not wanting to miss out completely, I decided that I'd run with Reuben so that he could take part for at least some the route. So off we set to join at one of the three activity areas. On getting there, we were kitted out in our hi-viz Sky Ride vests and had a look around. We were amazed by just how many people there were, and even more amazed by some of the BMX and Mountain Bike tricks on display. Reuben watched with his mouth wide open as one of the BMX riders rode around sitting on his handlebars. He was equally puzzled by how one of the mountain bikers jumped his bike onto a high platform from a standing start. The unusual sights continued as we headed out onto the course. Within the first half a mile we saw a man riding a unicycle, and another riding around on a bike with built-in speakers. Reuben enjoyed cycling behind listening to the music for a while, before deciding that he was going too slowly and cycled past.
As I hadn't planned on going running I wasn't exactly wearing running friendly footwear. But with Reuben's longest solo cycle to date being around 3 miles I thought that I should be okay. So I was a little surprised to find ourselves in sight of Manchester City's Ethiad Stadium towards the far end of the course, with Reuben keen to keep going. After a quick stop for a drink we set off again, with our next destination being the National Cycling Centre and a chance to have a look at the Velodrome and new indoor BMX track. As we walked back to the bike, we talked about all of the different types of cycling and which Reuben would like to try. After careful consideration Reuben decided that cycling on the road was his favourite ... although he did like the track helmets. We're also both looking forward to watching Team GB win some medals in all forms at the Olympics next month.
Then it was time for us to head back into the city centre for some food. Reuben started to feel the hills a little more than on the way out, but kept on going. And with almost 10 miles completed he had just enough effort for one last short sprint, before meeting up with the rest of team Frodsham who were waiting for us with chocolate medals.
Reuben and I both had a great day, the atmosphere was amazing and it was really nice to ride on traffic free roads. Reuben's favourite part was ringing his bell and shouting as he went through a long dark echoing tunnel.
If you like cycling then take a look at the goskyride.com site for details of Sky Ride events near you ... but don't forget to take your bike rack keys.