Hitting the streets requires patience

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One of the joys of being a parent is watching your kids get the same kicks as you did a lifetime ago.

This week has been a classic example of that.

Yesterday, Molly turned six and that’s an age where anything is still possible.

My worryingly overactive imagination has re-enforced this too: daddy has been to the moon, grandad went to school with Jesus, mummy’s shortness means she’s half-elf.

Like a piece of history repeating itself, Molly got a new bike for her birthday and her face on seeing the shiny, pink, machine for the first time was priceless. Slightly gobsmacked, slightly overwhelmed, slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a pink crash helmet to go with it.

It was like looking into a time vortex and seeing a little basin-haired boy in 1979, receiving his first proper big boys’ bike.

My dad bought me a second-hand red Raleigh Chopper and decked it out with wing mirrors, tassels and a three-tone siren.

I vividly remember standing in my nan’s alleyway polishing the chrome mudguards and feeling like the proudest youngster in Baffins.

I went on to spend a large section of my life trying to look cool, sitting on the elongated saddle believing I was the third and slightly less interesting member of CHiPs. They’d be chasing felons across the stateline, I’d be popping around the pond to get some eggs.

To see how much the new bike meant to Molly, meant a lot to me. As a family we’re keen cyclists and like to get out when the weather allows. Molly is now adding even more pressure to hit the streets and cruise although trying to get the whole brood out in one is like a military operation.

Just getting the winter layers on challenges my mental state. Have you ever tried putting gloves on an 18-month-old? Impossible.

One glove ends up with three fingers in one finger hole. The other hand is slightly clenched and I try to remember if my son has eight fingers or 10.

By the time the hat, scarf and gloves are all on, and I turn my back to get the bike helmet, Jack whips the gloves off and the beanie is being fed to the hound.

Once we’re actually up and coasting the streets of Portchester, it’s good wholesome fun.

There’s the mandatory ‘my legs are tired’ after 10-15 minutes – but chocolate button persuasion has worked in our family for generations and still works effectively today.

Gloveless Jack has developed his own technique for staying warm.

After 10 minutes, when his little hands really start to chill down, I get a short, sharp, shock – like someone has popped a pair of frozen pork chops down the back of my trousers.