|This is not me|
My youngest brought home yet another scrappy piece of paper which gave some information on the need for parental cyclists to accompany school cycle outings. I was all set to ignore it because it would mean taking precious annual leave to nanny a bunch of kids only one of whom would be mine and I'm not terribly motivated to do that, but my youngest emotionally blackmailed me into it. He explained that if there weren't enough parents they wouldn't be able to go out and that would be a tremendous shame because they'd have to do lessons instead and cycling is so much healthier...
So I agreed (being, at times, a pushover) and spent the first half hour after I got home yesterday changing the inner tube of my front tyre. I have two bicycle pumps which seem to work or not on a whim. I don't know what it is with pumps but they are often as frustrating to use as computers. Many a time I have wanted to hurl one at something hard made of bricks to teach it a lesson.
My temper wasn't the sweetest, then, as I tried to connect it up to the inner tube in situ. My youngest and his friend were busily giving a running commentary on bikes and pumps and other useful tips. I suppose the hope was that one would hit the useful jackpot. Meanwhile I was silently cursing. The damn thing wouldn't connect properly so I was pumping air along the pump tube but it wasn't going into the tyre and came out with an explosive whoosh when I wrangled it off the tip. Eventually, by some freak of chance (must have been because I have no idea what I did different that time) it worked and I pumped the sodding thing up.
I then rootled round in the garage for a helmet because I assumed they would probably be into all that elfansafety lark, as this was an elfansafety training. I found my youngest's which was a tad small but would do, put on my snazzy cycling shorts and sunnies. When I got to the school I realised that I was the only one of the women thus dressed. The French turn up to an elfansafety cycle training in sandals and no helmet. In fact the guy in charge remarked that I was correctly kitted out. I wondered if the others would be allowed to continue. You never know with elfansafety stasi.
We were shown the course: cycling standing 'à la danseuse' to begin with, then sitting down, round the corner, over a couple of planks, between two more, round the corner and going in and out of a number of poles, a figure of eight, a roundabout, pick up a ball and put it in a box, another roundabout one-handed, under a rope and charge to the end to brake suddenly only knocking over one out of two planks on cones.
If we could do all that we'd be certified to take out the kiddies. There was a pretty leisurely attitude to it all with people ambling unhurriedly round the course. We got two trial goes then the real thing. Naturally we all passed, even those who knocked over both planks on cones. I feel that what was actually most important was to have a bike you didn't fall off. The rest was just icing on the cake!
It didn't finish there though! Just when I thought I could go home, we were taken into a classroom and shown a powerpoint presentation on taking kids out on the road. When we go, the police municipal cover us with police cars and flashing lights and woe betide any driver who doesn't give us 1.5 metres room. They are pursued and told off or even fined!
Someone asked if there'd be room for an ice bucket of chilled rosé for the aperitif. I think it was me... The woman next to me said she'd been thinking exactly the same thing.
The guy in charge asked if we were surprised at having to take a training. I replied that nothing to do with schools surprised me any more. There was much laughter at this, not sure why. Schools are a black hole of elfansafety, paperwork, scaremongering, and litigious parents. I try to avoid anything to do with helping out. This might sound bad mummy-ish, but the people involved are just too unbearable. It's always the same (stupid) ones, they have their little clique and there's no way I want to deal with them.
Anyway, the cyclists were a fairly jolly bunch so I'm now ready and certified and hoping they won't go out too often!