Day Off Ride with Owen

Yesterday, was a teacher training day at the boys’ school, and I woke up looking forward to a day at work, as I had an interesting little project to complete – however, upon checking my calendar, I realised that I also had the day booked off! After double-checking that I really was not meant to be working, the disappointment was quickly replaced by thoughts of “where should I ride?”. Jen and the boys had plans in the afternoon, so it was tempting to ride by myself, but I had not ridden with Owen since falling off at Northampton Bike Park, and I had taken Henry to the trails in Bedworth the day before, so I thought it best to ride with Owen.

Given the choice of a few local places to ride, Owen just wanted to ride the skatepark at the War Memorial Park, where we go most weekends. So I switched things up – we would ride there! Owen did not take much convincing to take a longer route, via a fun trail alongside the Kenilworth road. Which I had handily pre-ridden the day before. There were a few road sections, but all on quiet roads and we were past the rush hour. I know that Owen is sensible when it is just the two of us out on bikes.

The fun part of the ride starts at pretty much the furthest point from home, especially when you add a detour to see the ducks at Warwick Uni. It is also the highest point, so we stopped for a snack before hitting the trail. The run down the first few sections was fun, albeit slower than I am used to. Owen coped admirably with the natural trail conditions – he is more used to purpose-built trails, and the leaves hiding roots and other obstacles added to the difficulty. Luckily (or more likely due to global warming?) the trail was not too muddy yet, so he did not have that to cope with. About halfway down, just before we crossed Cannon Hill Road, we stopped for a photo break, as I really liked how the leaves on the ground matched Owen’s jersey (that he chose when we were in Wales the previous month). One benefit of not being on a dedicated mountain bike trail was that I could get Owen to ride the “wrong way” down the trail to get better light on the photo.

At the War Memorial Park, Owen conquered the wet grassy bank that had caught him out on a previous visit, learning that knobbly mountain bike tyres are much grippier on wet grass than smooth BMX tyres. The mountain bike was also easier to roll down the ramps at the skatepark. I was disappointed to find that the new ice cream shack, opposite the skatepark was closed – I am yet to see it open. Owen wanted to ride straight back from the park, so we went along the road, through Earlsdon, then our regular route along Hearsall Common, through the woods and down the “Co-op Hill”. The ride was almost 16km – one of Owen’s longest. After the ride Owen had a busy day – a play date and a Halloween party. I had an afternoon of life admin, somewhat spoilt by my van not starting, which also happened on a day off earlier in the year.