Monday, 9 November 2009

Little White Lies 3: Centre Parks

The problem with bikes, especially when you can't ride one, is that they crop up all too often. For instance, my school water sports trip, hanging out at the park and of course the bi-wheeled woodland magnet that is Center Parks.

In case you're not familiar with Center Parks, they are family resorts based all across Europe and the UK. It has all the usual family woodland fun, like clay pigeon shooting, laser pigeon shooting and paintballing. Basically if you like shooting things, they've got it covered.

Another staple-mark of Center Parks is biking, they have tandem bikes which I had only ever seen in films, treasure hunt on bikes, you can't even walk outside without some troublesome, showboating little girl whizzing past, doing a wheelie or something else ridiculously dangerous. All the kids there ride bikes, mostly alone, probably so their lazy parents can drink.

Bearing this in mind, my mother thought it would be a great idea to book our accommodation as far away from the swimming pool as humanly possible. The swimming complex at this particular Suffolk Center Parks was huge, with flumes, plunge pools and a subtropical swimming paradise theme. Any child in their right mind would kill to go there. However, I would be forced to cycle a sizeable distance just to swim!

Even though our family friends were treating us with the holiday, she had still managed to interfere and make things torturous for me. Their ingenious idea was that if I was simply forced to ride to the swimming pool, then I would somehow magically learn during the long weekend.

It was a very long weekend.

We rented two bikes for me that weekend, one dark blue BMX and a big red tricycle with a basket on the back. I was exstatic with the big red trike, as it gave me my first ever taste of riding and we used the basket on the back to carry our swimming stuff, so I was assured no one would realise I couldn't ride and would assume I was merely being a mobile baggage handler for the weekend.

Looking back, there is no reason why a child would voluntarily choose a cumbersome red trike over a nifty BMX with a million gears. Which probably explains some of the sniggers I recieved over the weekend and why I remember quite vividly noticing one man, on a trike with no basket...he shared my curse.

The role of tutoring me on my BMX fell to Freddie, the partner of my mum's old school friend. Now Freddie was a very intelligent and caring man, however up until this point he had not experienced the joys of fatherhood. I remember at one point, Freddie tried to entertain me with a calculator. Yes, a calculator. His game involved multiplying numbers by two, with me trying to guess the answer...quite possibly the worst game in the history of the world.

I think Freddie's overtly logical approach may have been his downfall.

1 child + 1 boys bike x 2 hours practice= success

Well it didn't. With no stabilisers, Freddie resorted to the classic tactic of holding me up, whilst I tried to pedal. The only problem was that I just stared at my feet, whilst pedaling, safe in the knowledge that he was holding me. Until he let go, with me staring at my feet and suddenly I was staring at the ground, with a big graze on my knee and tears in my eyes.

The second attempt was slightly more 'compassionate',  my sister's obnoxious boyfriend rode alongside me, shouting the least encouraging encouragement imaginable.

"Don't fall off, don't fall off, don't fall off."

I fell off.

I remember picking the bike up again, puffing with frustration, determined to succeed at last. I set the bike pointing up the road and pedaled hard with my eyes shut for concentration. As you can imagine, this was an awful idea and I opened them just in time to see three things:

1) My front tyre veer sharply off the road
2) Some showboating little girls whiz past me, cackling
3) A huge stingy nettle bush loom ahead

I slammed on my breaks (quite an achievement for me at the time) slipped off the seat, then went over the handle bars straight into the stingy nettles. As the tears began to roll once more, I sub-consciously erased this traumatic event from my memory, until my mother reminded me whilst I told her about this blog.

Mothers eh? gotta love them.

What I learnt:

1) I really, really hate showboating little girls
2) Shouting really obvious commands still doesn't work
3) I hate maths
4) Being frustrated or wound up, really ruin your chances of progress, take time out to calm down


sophielovestea said...

ace blog, proper made me laugh! you have a real flare for writing, reminds me of danny wallace's style, hope you're doing well with the cycling!x

Squiffany said...

I am too still trying to forget my bad biking experiences.
Glad there is more then more then one of us.
Loving the blog!

MUMMY said...

Well I thought you did really well with the trike Laurence

MUMMY said...

Actually it is more painfull to watch than to participate - well almost.....