As Yorkshire gears itself up for the start of one of the World’s best known bike races this weekend there’s no getting away from bikes and bunting for anyone within a hundred miles of where we live. Le Tour de France is a gruelling test of team work, true grit and determination with 21 stages taking professional teams of riders over all sorts of terrain including 6 mountains.

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It’s seen as an honour to host Le Grand Depart – a more recent initiative as sponsors seek increasing revenue and television coverage and Britain may rightly lay current claim to being the World’s leading cycling nation after winning the Tour for the last couple of years as well as doing rather well at the London Olympics.

The hills around me have been alive with middle-aged men testing themselves on some specific parts of this year’s tour route – so much so that I have had to allow extra time to drive one particular hill in the last couple of months.

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Whilst we will be out tomorrow with friends hopefully soaking up atmosphere instead of rain, it is a number of years since I’ve been on a bike as arthritis in one wrist makes the whole thing too painful. But with some fond memories of my own childhood and more learning from Max’s, this week’s bite sized prompt is inevitably Cycling!

With a lot to cover, I’ve made sure to be the good host this time and provide you with examples of both prose and “I remember” formats for joining in !

If you’re new to Bite Size Memoir,  it’s designed to help anyone record some personal memoir in small manageable bites. There’s a prompt every week and some constraints to keep it small (with full details at the bottom of this post). Feel free to dip in and out as a prompt grabs you, without the need for a weekly commitment.

To catch up on how it started, please read here. If you have your own blog and want to participate, please feel free to incorporate links to and from your post to encourage readers to blog hop.

150 Words Prose:

Puch
Puch Ladies Bike

It was unusual to have a brand new present of this magnitude and still I was ungrateful. I wanted a ‘chopper’ which everyone else had with its long seat and curved handlebars. Instead my parents bought me a sensible PUCH which did indeed last me into adulthood. With big wheels, cycling the fourteen mile round trip to go swimming was easy on flat fen roads.

I could pack towel and lunch in the rear tartan pannier and had a cat and a chicken who would suffer rides too!

Jubilee Park Swimming Pool, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
Jubilee Park Swimming Pool, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

We spent a lot of time in the summer holidays, ogling a blue-eyed lifeguard we named Chunky. We’d invent questions and take turns asking him, then blush and giggle like the silly school girls we were.

One summer was rather interrupted when A tried ‘no-hands’ down the village hill. Unfortunately the dentist did well out of her for a while.

 

10 x I remember statements:

I remember a wooden scoot-a-long trike from Ikea painted red, yellow and green.

I remember two summers of bribery to persuade him to try riding a bike.

IMGP2177I remember trying tandems and tow bars and lots of praise.

I remember my frustration giving way to a stand-no-nonsense attitude about his refusals – We booked a cycling holiday in Holland.

I remember in Holland you ‘break’ on a bike by peddling backwards

I remember “It’s alive I tell you!” from the seven year old who couldn’t co-ordinate balance and peddling let alone the conscious decision to peddle backwards.

I remember the scratched car and bed of nettles.

IMGP2255I remember the guilt when I learned a couple of years later that inability to ride bikes, much like tying shoelaces, accompanies certain dyslexias.

I remember that he did eventually get the hang of it though never willingly pursued it because it still felt unsafe.

I remember therefore being astonished to discover he was in hospital because he’d been on a bike! It had no breaks, he wore no helmet and careered down a hill only to have a very lucky escape!

 

So what do you remember about cycling?!

 

Here’s how you join in:

A REMINDER OF HOW THE BITE-SIZE MEMOIR CHALLENGE WORKS

  1. Each Friday I’ll suggest a topic by 2pm UK time (BST) via my blog and Twitter (using the hashtag  #BiteSizeMemoir  – You don’t need to be on Twitter to participate.)

2. The challenge will be to write about the topic using

either

10 x “I remember statements”

  or

150 x words (prose, or poem if you want to stretch yourself)

Either will make you pick and choose your words carefully whilst keeping a tight focus for time’s sake. You might want to write more, to keep at home, but please only submit one option within the limits for sharing (i.e. 10 statements or 150 word prose/poem)

3. The Deadline for sharing your ‘Bite’ will be 2pm (BST) the following Thursday. You can share in either of two ways:

a) Post your response in the comments section of the current topic – I will find it and cut and paste to the compilation of responses. (You may not see your comment appear immediately but don’t worry – I will find and share it)

or

b) If you have a blog you can post your response on your own blog with a link back to this post, and then also provide the link to me in the comments section. I will then link your contribution back to your post, in the compilation of responses.

4. It would be great if you felt able to include the country the events took place in – I think it provides a significant context for other readers. As an example look at the compilation for “School at Seven”

5. I will aim to compile responses and share them via another post before the next challenge is issued.

 

A few rules:

    1. If you need or want to be anonymous that’s fine – When you post a comment just put ‘Anon’ or a nickname in the name field. It does ask for an email address as part of spam filtering but only I will see it.
    2. Please keep others anonymous to protect their privacy and dignity – change names or use initials etc.
    3. If you’ve got an axe to grind, please do it somewhere else.
    4. If you stumble across this after the deadline, do feel free to contribute and include your blog link in the comments section of the compilation, so others can read it.

      Please remember to submit your Bite Size Memoir by 2pm (BST) Thursday 10th July 2014.

    5. Above all have fun !

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