Ride like when you were a kid


When I was a kid I used to get in from school and if not going out playing footy or some other sport I’d go for a ride on my bike, this was pre mountain bike days and the whole bmx scene passed my little village by so I’d go out on my ‘racer’ or road bike as they are now know.  I had no particular specialist equipment and just rode my bike on a ten mile loop round the lanes.  I might if I could remember put a puncture kit in my pocket but that was it, can’t ever remember even putting a water bottle in the cage.  Of course this approach changed for longer excursions but for the after school ride it was just get on the bike and go for a ride.

Nowadays I seem to find myself packing as if I’m going on a major expedition when I go out and sometimes the logistics of getting a ride sorted can itself feel like planning a journey to some far flung region of the globe.  I am particularly bad and stuff all sorts into my backpack, just in case, even though I don’t know how to use half of the stuff that’s in there.  To this end I’ve gone to a much smaller pack to restrict what I can take but still seem to carry a lot.

Tonight I decided to ride like I was a kid again, an hour loop on trails as opposed to roads near my house.  The bike may be different but the approach was the same.  I packed nothing, no backpack, no water, no tools, no pump, no kit.  Just mobile (didn’t have them of course when I was a kid) and some cash in case I stopped at a pub.  It felt incredibly liberating and of course if I did have a mechanical I was never more than a couple of miles from the house.  I know this is not the approach to take really but tonight it felt right and I remembered what it was like to be 15 and free.


2 thoughts on “Ride like when you were a kid

  1. What can I say? You must have been reading my mind. I commute to work, and ride for leisure in the Neath valley. Riding to and from work, sees me with loads of gear, pump, puncture kit, spare inner tube, tools, spare batteries, a change of clothing, mobile phone, and so on. You’d think I was off on a mini tour, but because I have to get to work (eventually) I need to be prepared for eventualities. Even when I go for a spin on my days off, I still carry a lot, but in a smaller backpack, as opposed to my panniers for work. As you say, what a difference from when I was a lad. To be honest, I don’t ever remember having a puncture back almost 50 years ago! I do remember the odd occasion where I had a fall, trying to do something on the bike that it wasn’t built for, ending up with cuts and bruises, and bent twisted wheels. That meant a trip to the scrap yard to find replacement parts. I don’t think BMX, or mountain bikes had appeared back then, so we did it all on bikes we built up together, from bits and pieces gleaned form the scrap merchants. Great days, oh to bring them back! Just get on the bike and go. We never worried about tyre pressure, if tyres felt soft we pumped them up till they felt right, and oil was used very sparingly, i.e., if it squeaked we oiled it. All so simple, and uncomplicated. Everything today has become over complicated, at work, at home, even with our leisure time. Leisure time, it seems, has to have a purpose, a benefit. Lose weight, get fit, record a better time. We are in danger of forgetting to simply enjoy ourselves. Like you, on my leisure rides, I try to just go. Carrying just my mobile phone, to take pictures, and a little cash, and that’s all I need, never going more than a couple of miles from my home. What’s more it’s surprising what can be discovered so close to home, down trails you’ve never thought of trying. Sorry for this long reply, but your post struck a chord. Cheers.

    • thanks for commenting, I really appreciated it and I totally agree with you. For me me riding is all about enjoyment. I’m not particularly ‘good’ whatever that may mean and am trying to improve my skill and confidence but only so that I can ride stuff confidently and safely adding to my enjoyment. It’s never about speed or strava or any of that stuff. Ride for Smiles – that it 🙂

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