MTB or Die, Part II

Success! I am now able to ride my bike. The breakthrough came yesterday when I did what I should have done when we first got our bikes; I embarked on a major Googling session. I found a US site with an instructional video (cheap but not free otherwise I’d reproduce it here) which spelled out the most crucial bit of advice every non-bicycle-riding adult needs, and it’s not advice you’ll get from someone who learned to ride as a child because the whole process is too instinctual for them.

The advice is simply this: when the bike starts to lean, correct it by temporarily turning the front wheel in the same direction as the lean. That’s it. Once you’ve got that idea loaded into your head, progress comes fast. I spent a little time in a deserted car park last night just practicing the balancing side of things, and ten minutes later I was pedaling. This morning we went for another practice session on a bike trail and by the end of it I was getting bursts of 1-2 mins without any mishaps. I haven’tĀ  collected any new injuries either, though my arse is sore thanks to that medieval instrument of torture which is laughingly called a bike seat. Anyway, anybody reading this who also managed to survive childhood without ever learning to ride a bike will find the following link very useful:

I’ve still got a ton of photos from yesterday’s lure coursing to sort through and process before my next post, but for now here are a few snaps from a flyball demo we attended (but did not participate in this time) at James Lindsay Park, Baillieston. The demo was given by the Lomond Flyball Club, and here are a few shots:






Click here for the full set of photos

MTB or Die, Part I

As noted in a previous post we have dreams of becoming hardy mountain bikers, going out on exciting rides with our loyal and well behaved little Beagles. Until today, two main obstacles stood in the way of those dreams becoming a reality:

  • We don’t have any mountain bikes
  • I have never, ever ridden a bike of any kind. That expression “it’s just like riding a bike” means nothing to me

This morning the first obstacle was removed as our prebuilt bikes arrived in unfeasibly large cardboard boxes. We went out tonight to fix obstacle #2. The session didn’t quite go as planned, as this photo of my wounded shin attests:


It’s surprisingly difficult to take a picture of your own shin. Try it and see!

It’s only the fact that I am such a hardy mountain biker that enabled me to take the pain of such a grievous injury without losing consciousness. The worst of it is that this mishap didn’t occur on a mountain as such; it was more a smooth bit of tarmac really (though I swear it had a treacherous camber to it).

The pain and blood loss will be worth it when I can cruise through woodland tracks with my little boy running at my side. I still can’t ride yet, but I’m getting there. I think it may be quite some time before my first with-Beagle ride though. Susan of course is way ahead of me – after a couple of false starts she was cycling away quite happily, proving the adage about never forgetting that particular skill.

Mountain Biking Beagles

In response to my last post Sam, owner of Chigley, suggested mountain biking as a way of giving our hounds enough exercise whilst keeping them with us at all time. Despite the fact that neither of us can ride a bike we thought this was a great idea and true to form have jumped in with both feet and ordered the kit before common sense has a chance to kick in and spoil the fun!

Today we ordered two shiny new mountain bikes (These had good reviews and came highly recommended):(Click here to view)

And two kits for attaching our Beagles securly to our bikes (recommended by Sam and Chigley)!(Click here to view)

All that remains is to get some protective gear – helmets (yuk!) and Julie posted to my previous post to advise us to get padded fingerless gloves (Biggles can help us make those!).

The bikes should arive early next week. Then the fun begins! We’ll do our best to get the highlights of our first attemptsĀ on camera.