Last weekend I went for an eleven mile bike ride with my son Gruff and it is one of the best things I have ever done with him. Last winter we drove home from a basketball game in Poole and there was a crash on the main road outside Dorchester so we got diverted and the diversion took us down a really long hill called Yellowham Hill and both of us thought that it would be quite a cool thing to cycle down this hill and after many a delay and fatherly bit of procrastination we finally did it yesterday.
Now I am staggeringly unfit and let’s be brutally honest here considerably overweight and I think subconsciously the procrastination had been due to the fact that this was a longer and more difficult ride than the two of us had done before but God I wanted to ride down that hill and Gruff was starting to get a bit annoyed that I kept on finding reasons not to go so we agreed to do it on Sunday.
We set off just after lunch with a map and a bottle of squash and straight away Gruff hit a kerb side on and came off his bike cutting his knee open – he didn’t cry and insisted on carrying on and so off we went out of Dorchester into the countryside. We cycled past Thomas Hardy’s cottage, up into PuddletownForest and then cycled down a tremendous woodland path to get out of the forest and onto the road and down another excellent hill into Puddletown itself. From there we cycled back up to the A35 and through the hamlet of TroyTown and then we were there – the top of Yellowham Hill.
I have to say that it was just incredible cycling down Yellowham Hill – the cycle to get there had been really hard but all that was worth it has we sped down the hill yelling at each other as the speed gathered pace. The cycling app on my phone later told me that we’d reached 55mph as we bombed down the hill – I reckon the app might have a fault on it – surely there’s no way we made it to that high a speed. We reached the bottom and the look of elation on Gruff’s face made it all worthwhile – we crossed over the A35 making a stop on the bridge to look at the cornflake vans driving down the road*, before heading up the hill and down into Lower Bockhampton before heading for home where a worried wife greeted us and told us that we’d been gone for ages.
We checked the bike app and saw that we’d been cycling for 1hour 37 minutes and had done 11.27 miles – we could not believe it and much to my surprise I felt really proud that we’d made it. I ached, was covered in sweat and needed a cold pint of squash and a lie down but we’d done it and my son was really happy that I’d stopped the aforementioned procrastination and got on my bike to help him fulfil his aim of cycling down Yellowham Hill.
Dad of the Year at least for one afternoon.
* We didn’t really, we just stopped for a swig of orange and pineapple squash before heading for home. Truth is it’s a Gregory’s Girl reference and if you got that then you’re a friend for life.