Seeing as we're having spring early we thought we'd put the bikes on the back of the car and drive up the hill to Mogador (In our house you can only say Mogador as if a character from Lord of the rings - so it's 'MogadorrrrrrrRRRrrrR'). Now it's a trick going for a ride with Eben and Louis. Louis's straightforward he can go on the back of Nic's bike.
Eben though is at a very difficult age. He can pelt along, but he's still on stabilisers, which makes it difficult on paths that are shared with horses and walkers and have got boggy over the winter.
The other thing that's tough is finding a flat enough run. We're right at the foot of the North Downs so it's pretty up and down everywhere round here, so while I can just hack straight into the hills in a couple of minutes from my front door, we have had to search high and low for some off road routes that are as flat as possible for us all to ride together.
Only thing is though, however flat the route, there is no way we can find something that doesn't go up and down a little bit and with the route we take it's mainly downhill on the way out and more uphill on the way back of a four mile circuit.
Now to us it looks like a lovely gentle incline and comfortable trundling freewheel on the downslopes. For Eben on his bike which is not too far off as heavy as mine and with no gears (and those stabilisers) it's akin to tour de france style climbs and we save it until the end when he's already tired.
I have this horrible feeling that it's something that will come up in therapy when he's on the couch at 30. 'My parents used to toture me on Sunday mornings - they said encouraging things and that I was trying really hard and all I can do is my hardest, but really they were just laughing on the inside'.
Before each of the last three times we've done it now, Nic and I have had the same conversation about 'not overdoing it this time' and 'making sure we don't quite go so far' and 'maybe we can find a slightly different route' and each time the last couple of hundred yards has had Eben crying, proper crying, and saying 'I can't do any more, I can't do any more'. Which is fair enough really, he's gone a bloody long way for his age and we have completely disregarded our earlier conversation because he seemed much better this time, forgetting that the worst bit was always at the end.
I can't help but think that if we get him a slightly bigger bike (his I think is a bit too small now), that's lighter, plus get him off the stabilisers in the spring that he may find it a million times easier than he does now.
For the time being we're hoping that the crisps and lemonade at the end may just keep him out of the psychiatrists office. Louis of course just gets to troll around looking at the horses and gourging on snacks at the end.
And as for Florence, Louis' raggedy cat. Well she always has the time of her life...