Friday, 17 June 2011

A great reason to break your arm

Every day for the last 8 months i've been cycling the school run

Its not too strenuous; its a lovely way to start the day, chattering with my daughter as we roll down the big hill to school. We've managed to cycle all the way through the winter and have somehow managed to dodge the worst of the rainstorms (which as any parent knows usually occur around dropping off & picking up time)

This all looked like it would come to a dramatic end (for 6 weeks at least) when my daughter broke her arm. It was amazing really, a small trip and then a soft landing onto grass was all it took to snap both bones in her arm- every weekend until then we'd spent off-roading or bouncing up the bike jumps with nothing more than the odd scratch.

We started the next week with a mix of walking and extortionate busfares (I don't drive), by the next weekend we were thoroughly fed up and much poorer, so off i went to the garage to look for a solution. I already have a tandem which I use periodically,but this was far too big for my daughter, but a quick go on the back proved that she could 'stoke' fine and it didn't cause her any discomfort. So with a couple of scrap bikes (an adults at the front and a teens at the back) I improvised a rough tandem- the only difference being that it was attached at the forks and pivoted in the middle.

It's more stable than your average tag-along but was still too flexible for her to ride at the moment. That said i'm thinking of adding a few more on to see how far the 5 of us can get in the next rugby cycle fundraiser.

When i figured it out, if i caught the bus each day to school with my daughter- even if i walked home, walked to pick her up and then we both walked home it would cost £5 a day/ £25 a week and £150 for the 6 weeks of busfare we were going to need. So with this in mind off to ebay I went and found this beautiful machine

In the end it cost £120 and is brilliant, we've just finished our first week on the tandem and i'm not sure we'll go back to our school bikes when her arms better.

If you'd like to see how much cycling could save you check out this cycling cost calculator


  1. I have a beautiful old fixed-gear Dutch tandem that I bought a few years ago on Ebay and then used while living in Cambridge. Maybe we could have a race?
    On the subject, where might I find 650 x 50C tyres? I've drawn a blank so far...

  2. As with all things i reckon ebay is the answer. As far as i can figure it 650x50c is the european size- the uk equivalent is 26 x 2 x 1 3/4- just paste that into the ebay search box and you'll find what you're looking for... think!

    catch up for coffee?