My family have embraced and encouraged my passion for cycling (although my wife might call it an obsession) since I started a few years ago. Every now and then I need to be given a reality check before investing in a new item that is more of a ‘nice to have’ than a ‘need to have’. But overall, they encourage me all the way. My kids get great entertainment out of the fact the daddy has so much ‘kit’ and take great pleasure in wearing my bike helmet, sunglasses and drinking from my water bottles (although I make very sure there is no electrolytes, energy drinks in them)! My eldest daughter even said that when she grows up she wants to be a cyclist like daddy. Of course in my head I’m already setting her up to become the next Emma Pooley or Lizzie Armitstead!
Despite their enthusiasm for my hobby, every now and then my bubble bursts when my planned ride is met with an obstacle in the shape of one of my daughter insisting that I am not going out. With an expression on their face I knew meant that there would be a full scale tantrum……no actually, a meltdown of tears and possible screaming if she sees me getting my bike out. My initial feeling was that of frustration. As much as I love cycling, I am not a professional, I don’t get paid to do it, it is a hobby not my job. As with lots of hobbies I sometime have the attitude of ‘I can’t be bothered’! So when I am really in the mood for getting out on my bike, the last thing I want is to be told that I’m “not allowed” by one of my kids. But the fact is they are not being obstructive, they just want to spend time with me. I see them briefly before I go to work in the morning and a little longer when I get back in the evening. The weekend is family time and sometimes I need a reminding of that. So we negotiated. Instead of a usual 2-3 hour ride out, I set up my turbo trainer in the back garden with a Sufferfest training video on the table so I could do a 45 minute blow out. I agreed to go out on Sunday morning (probably whilst they are still sleeping) for my longer ride. The kids played in the garden whilst watching me ride my bike. To be fair, it’s not something they often get to see and it meant I could still talk to them and watch them play. So everyone was happy.
I forget how much of my time cycling can take up when you are doing it outside of commuting to work and back. It can be easy to set off for a 3 or 4 hour ride without a care but it is more important to manage hobby/family life balance, hobbies and interests can quickly take up your time and take over your life if you find one you love.
The great thing about cycling is that you can pretty much do it at anytime of the day or night (assuming you have lights and visible clothing).